Kate Sheppard (1847-1934)

Where can I find information about Kate Sheppard?

Image: Kate Wilson Sheppard by W Sidney Smith. Collection: Alexander Turnbull Library [cropped from original]

Entry last updated: 01/11/21


Kate Sheppard was born in England on 10 March 1847. She and her family moved to New Zealand in the late 1860s. Kate was a founding member of the Women's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) in New Zealand, and a leader of the New Zealand Women's Suffrage movement. She also fought for women to have equal rights in education and employment.

Epic resources

EPIC is a collection of online resources that have been put together especially for New Zealand school students.

Britannica School

This EPIC site is an online version of Encyclopedia Britannica and covers history, geography, social sciences, and science topics including biographies. It has an article about Kate Sheppard, and early suffragettes and activists .

  • Select a level. (You can move up and down this level if you need to).
  • Enter the search words 'Kate Sheppard' into the search box.
  • The article Kate Sheppard (New Zealand activist) has information about her promoting women's rights in New Zealand.
Tips: To get to the EPIC resources you will need a password from your school librarian first. Or you can chat with one of our AnyQuestions librarians between 1 and 6 pm Monday to Friday and they will help you online. Some EPIC databases may also be available through your public library.

Biography in Context

This EPIC site includes information about all types of world-famous people from all walks of life.

  • Type the keywords 'Kate Sheppard' into the search box.
  • The article Katherine Wilson Sheppard has information about her life and her role in the New Zealand suffragette movement.
Tips: Search words, or keywords, are the most important words in our question. Usually it’s better to leave out small words like ‘the’, ‘a’ and ‘of’ and just choose the main ones, eg [Kate Sheppard]. We can always change our keywords or add more if we need to.

New Zealand Geographic Archive

This is the online collection of the New Zealand Geographic magazine. It has articles on all aspects of New Zealand life from the natural environment to history and culture.

  • Enter 'Kate Sheppard' into the search box.
  • The first search result A leap into the light is an in-depth article about how New Zealand became the first country in the world to allow women to vote in the General Elections.
Tips: To get to the EPIC resources you will need a password from your school librarian first. Or you can chat with one of our AnyQuestions librarians between 1 and 6pm Monday to Friday and they will help you online. Some EPIC databases may also be available through your public library.

New Zealand websites

The websites below will guide you to all the information you need on the life and achievements of Kate Sheppard and other famous people like her.


NZHistory focuses on New Zealand's cultural, social, and political historic events. It is easy to read and has links to other resources.

  • Enter 'Kate Sheppard' in the search box.
  • The article Kate Sheppard has information about her life and the suffragists .
  • Remember to explore Related to Kate Sheppard at the bottom of the page. You will find a digitised image of the suffrage petition sent to Parliament in 1893 , and an article on Women and the vote .

Dictionary of New Zealand Biography (DNZB)

DNZB is part of Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand. It contains over 3,000 biographies of New Zealanders who have ‘made their mark’ on this country. It does not include people who are alive. DNZB belongs to the Ministry for Culture & Heritage, so the information is well-researched and reliable.

  • Enter the keywords 'Kate Sheppard' to begin searching.
  • Choose the entry Katherine Wilson Sheppard to read about her life as a suffrage activist, writer , speaker , and founder of the WCTU in New Zealand.
Tips: We like sites like this because they’re reliable. You can tell because of their web address – they have either .govt or .ac, meaning they are from government or educational organisations. They’re also New Zealand sites, so relevant for us.

Christchurch City Libraries

Christchurch Libraries have a great page about Kate Sheppard including links to other recommended resources.

  • Go to Explore then, under Subject Guides , select People .
  • Scroll down the page to find the letter S, then choose the article Kate Sheppard 1847 – 1934 .
  • Make sure you explore all the links under Recommended resources to learn more about this topic.
Tips: Many webpages have links to further information or to other recommended sites. Following these links is a great way to find out more. The searching method is called 'pearl growing' because you are picking up pieces of sand to make a beautiful pearl!

NZEDGE Legends

This website promotes New Zealand overseas and part of this is acknowledging famous New Zealanders and their achievements.

  • Enter 'Kate Sheppard'into the search box.
  • The article Kate Sheppard has information and photographs that cover her life as a leader and a source of inspiration.
Tips: Websites that have .com or .co in the address can have good information, but you need to assess how reliable it is. Check the About us link on the website, if you can find one. That can tell you what the company’s mission and values are.


This website provides an online showcase of New Zealand television, film and music videos. It is especially useful for NZ history queries that need primary sources or multimedia information.

  • Use the search words 'Kate Sheppard' to find the video What really happened: votes for women .
  • This 70-minute docudrama is about Kate Sheppard and the suffrage campaign.
  • The historical settings and costumes will give you a good idea of what life was like in the late 1800s and how hard it was to change the political system.


There are lots of books about New Zealand history and society which include chapters or articles about Kate Sheppard and the women's suffrage movement. Check with your school or local public library to see what they have.

Here are some recommended titles:

SCIS no: 1987121
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