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Elizabeth Yates was the sensation of the British Empire in 1893 when she was elected Mayor of Onehunga – the first woman in the Empire to hold such a high office.
A strong supporter of the suffrage movement, Yates was the first woman to cast her vote in the Onehunga Electorate in the general election on 28 November 1893 (the first in which New Zealand women could vote) and the following day she was elected Mayor. During her year-long tenure, this innovative woman liquidated the borough debt, established a sinking fund, upgraded roads, footpaths and sanitation and reorganised the fire brigade.
Watch this footage of Elizabeth Yates re-enacting a speech she would have given to the Onehunga Borough Council.
Find out more about Elizabeth Yates:
Read more about Elizabeth Yates on NZHistory.net.
Read the full Dictionary of New Zealand Biography entry for Elizabeth Yates.
Image: Courtesy of the Auckland War Memorial Museum Tāmaki Paenga Hira, C17 351.
Catalogue Reference F90103
Camera: Enos Silvanus Pegler