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New Zealand might be a small country, but our people think big. We’re high achievers because we don’t believe in the words, “I can’t.”

At least that’s my theory.

Today, I’m going to mention two great New Zealanders.

Katherine Wilson Shepherd, known as Kate, was born in Liverpool, England, but she migrated to Christchurch, New Zealand in her early twenties. Kate Shepherd was part of the New Zealand women’s suffrage movement, and she and her group campaigned to gain women the vote. In 1893 New Zealand became the first country to grant women the vote.

Kate Shepherd is depicted on the New Zealand ten-dollar note. In September we have an election, and I intend to exercise my right to vote, since Kate Shepherd worked so hard to win me that right.

Sir Edmund Hillary was one of the first men to climb Mt Everest, the highest mountain in the world. On 29 May 1953 he, along with Sherpa Tenzing Norgay, reached the summit and spent 15 minutes before descending. His famous words, “We knocked the bastard off.” always make me smile.

Sir Edmund attended primary school in Tuakau, the small town where I attended high school. Sir Edmund spent a lot of time in Nepal and built schools to give something back to the Nepalese people. Sir Edmund Hillary is depicted on the New Zealand five-dollar note.

Which one of your countrymen or women do you admire?


  1. Sophie Duncan

    New Zealand led the world with votes for women – wow – they were years ahead! Go New Zealand!

    I hadn’t heard of Katherine Wilson Shepherd, although I feel I ought to have considering the way she led the world. I have heard of Sir Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing, both great explorers.
    Sophie’s Thoughts & Fumbles – A to Z Ghosts
    Fantasy Boys XXX – A to Z Drabblerotic

    • Shelley Munro

      What did I say? We don’t believe in “I can’t”.

  2. Veronica Sicoe

    I didn’t know New Zealand was the first country to grant women the right to vote. Cheers to Kate Shepherd!

    • Shelley Munro

      Pretty awesome, isn’t it?

  3. anna@herding cats & burning soup

    Go big or go home, right? That’s great yall–those small in size–kick some butt :)

    I’m going with my granddad as the countryman I admire. He was an inventor and did some amazing things health-wise for our country and that’s been used around the world. An everyday thing most know about but that has saved a lot of young lives years ago when there weren’t any other options and that’s spun a lot of “lookalike” products in the decades since. He was a pretty awesome man :)

    • Shelley Munro

      Wow, that’s amazing, Anna. He sounds like an incredible man.

  4. Mary Kirkland

    Good for Kate Shepherd for helping women get the right to vote.

    • Shelley Munro

      I think of that every time we have an election – about the women who fought for our rights.

  5. Shayne Parkinson

    Kate Shepherd is one of my heroes, too. My great-great-aunt was one of her suffragist colleagues, and was in the first National Council with Kate – there’s a photograph of the Council with Great-aunt Lucy along with Kate and the others.

    Lucy’s one of my heroes too, actually. Her widowed father died just a few months after bringing the family to New Zealand, and Lucy, as the oldest girl, was left to raise her young brothers and sisters in an unfamiliar country.