From Suffrage to a Seat in the House: The path to Parliament for New Zealand women by Jenny Coleman (Otago University Press, 2020), 338pp., $45; Crossing the Lines: The story of three homosexual New Zealand soldiers in World War II by Brent Coutts (Otago University Press, 2020), 336pp., $49.95
Two recent books counter commonplace narratives about Aotearoa’s social and political history.
In From Suffrage to a Seat in the House: The path to Parliament for New Zealand women Jenny Coleman traces the stalling of the women’s franchise after the success of the suffrage petition and subsequent Electoral Bill of 1893. From that moment, it took an extraordinary twenty-six years for women to win the right to be elected to Parliament, and fourteen years after that for the first woman to actually win a seat—by which time the country we like to remind ourselves was trailblazing had been overtaken by a number of liberal democracies, including Britain. [Read more…]