Silhouette of two women.

Standing on the Shoulders

A permanent online memorial, honouring those on whose shoulders the women of Aotearoa now stand.
These brave women have put their bodies, reputations, careers, and sometimes even their lives, on the line.
Not only did these strong women do great things but they encouraged and emboldened others to do great things too.
Standing on the shoulders empowering women
We’re not talking 15-minutes of fame here – these illustrious women have truly earned the right to be called famous.
Famous New Zealand women, Standing on the shoulders
These persuasive women have not all been in formal positions of power, but they have all made a profound difference.
New Zealand women making a profound difference. Standing of the shoulders
These transformative women have never been afraid to lead the pack, to be the first.
Innovative Standing on shoulders hero image
These exceptional women are the ones we look up to – the women who have dazzled us with their words and deeds.
Inspirational Standing on shoulders hero image
These creative women, through their artistry and talent, brought us special moments and made all our lives brighter.
Luminous Standing on shoulders hero image
These bold women have been fearless, unafraid to fight for what they believe in.

The women of Aotearoa New Zealand gained the right to vote in September 1893, after a hard-fought campaign and several massive, nationwide petitions. To honour those Suffragists and look to the future, this exhibition celebrates many of our most illustrious, revolutionary, courageous, inspirational, empowering, luminous, innovative and influential women.

From Te Puea Hērangi to Lorde, from weavers to war heroes, Standing on the Shoulders… celebrates a diverse range of women, as well as showcasing the breadth of material in our collections of archived radio, television and film.

For our curators, selecting the women was the single hardest task in the creation of the exhibition. Our single requirement was that they must appear in our online collection. There are thousands of wonderful women in Aotearoa whose contributions to their communities have gone unrecognised. This selection should be seen as a representative sample only.

Standing on the Shoulders... was created as part of Suffrage 125, which commemorated 125 years since women won the right to vote in New Zealand.