One of the earliest Māori suffragettes, Meri Te Tai Mangakahia (22 May 1868 – 10 October 1920)
Meri Te Tai was of Ngati Te Reinga, Ngati Manawa and Te Kaitutae, three hapu (’clans’) of Te Rarawa, an iwi (’tribe’) in Northland). She was well educated, studying at St Mary’s Convent in Auckland and was an accomplished pianist. In 1893 she became the first woman to address the Maori parliament, asking that women be given not only voting rights but to be eligible to take a seat within the parliament as well.
E whakamoemiti atu ana ahau kinga honore mema e noho nei, kia ora koutou. katoa, ko te take i motini atu ai ahan, ki te Tumuaki Honore, me nga mema honore, ka mahia he ture e tenei whare kia whakamana nga wahine ki te pooti mema mo ratou ki te Paremata Maori. 1. He nui nga wahine o Nui Tireni kua mate a ratou taane, a he whenua karati, papatupu o ratou. 2. He nui nga wahine o Nui Tireni kua mate o ratou matua, kaore o ratou tungane, he karati, he papatupu o ratou. 3. He nui nga wahine mohio o Nui Tireni kei te moe tane, kaore nga tane e mohio ki te whakahaere i o raua whenua. 4. He nui nga wahine kua koroheketia o ratou matua, he wahine mohio, he karati, he papatupu o ratou. 5. He nui nga tane Rangatira o te motu nei kua inoi ki te kuini, mo nga mate e pa ara kia tatou, a kaore tonu tatou i pa ki te ora i runga i ta ratou inoitanga. Na reira ka inoi ahau ki tenei whare kia tu he mema wahine. Ma tenei pea e tika ai, a tera ka tika ki te tuku inoi nga mema wahine ki te kuini, mo nga mate kua pa nei kia tatou me o tatou whenua, a tera pea e whakaae mai a te kuini ki te inoi a ona hoa Wahine Maori i te mea he wahine ano hoki a te kuini.
I exult the honourable members of this gathering. Greetings. The reason I move this motion before the principle member and all honourable members so that a law may emerge from this parliament allowing women to vote and women to be accepted as members of the parliament. Following are my reasons that present this motion so that women may receive the vote and that there be women members: 1. There are many women who have been widowed and own much land. 2. There are many women whose fathers have died and do not have brothers. 3. There are many women who are knowledgeable of the management of land where their husbands are not. 4. There are many women whose fathers are elderly, who are also knowledgeable of the management of land and own land. 5. There have been many male leaders who have petitioned the Queen concerning the many issues that affect us all, however, we have not yet been adequately compensated according to those petitions. Therefore I pray to this gathering that women members be appointed. Perhaps by this course of action we may be satisfied concerning the many issues affecting us and our land. Perhaps the Queen may listen to the petitions if they are presented by her Maori sisters, since she is a woman as well.