Suffrage 125 was celebrated at Rotorua Library Te Aka Mauri with a Living Books discussion and lunch.
Suffrage and Symbolism
Many of the guests at our Living Book event wore purple and decorations and even the cake paid tribute to this significant colour.
Purple was one of three colours chosen to represent the suffrage cause in Britain in 1908 (Te Papa Blog: The history of purple, from ancient Rome to women’s rights).
A later description in The Suffragist, Vol. 1 No. 4, published on December 6, 1913, explains “Purple is the color of loyalty, constancy to purpose, unswerving steadfastness to a cause. White, the emblem of purity, symbolizes the quality of our purpose; and gold, the color of light and life, is as the torch that guides our purpose, pure and unswerving.” (Recollections blog: The Colors of Women’s Suffrage)
Event facilitator, Dr. Margriet Theron wore her New Zealand Suffrage Centennial Medal which included these three colours. The medal was awarded to
500 women and men who had, by their virtues and talents, made a recognised
contribution to the rights of women in New Zealand, or to women's issues in New
Zealand, or to both. The reverse of the medal has a fern
frond and a sprig of camellia foliage with a single bloom, stems crossed in the
base and tied with a bow.
Some members of the audience also wore a white camellia and in closing the event, Dr Margriet Theron presented Rotorua Library Te Aka Mauri with a white camellia for display throughout the week.
Women's suffrage petition