Phillipa is our eleventh resident for the year – she lives in Wellington and writes fiction, non-fiction and plays for children and young adults. Her interest in history has produced titles such as Anzac Day, Best Mates (illustrated by Bob Kerr), Armistice Day, Lighthouse Family and The New Zealand Wars. Several of her books have been shortlisted for awards and she is a frequent speaker at schools with the Writers in Schools programme.
Phillipa’s project is work on a non- fiction book for children about the women’s suffrage movement in New Zealand.
In 1893, New Zealand became the first self-governing country in the world to grant universal suffrage. Last year marked the 125th anniversary of this milestone. The He Tohu exhibition at the National Library, showcasing three historic New Zealand documents including the women’s suffrage petition, has helped to revitalise interest in the women’s suffrage movement. Philippa says, ‘I see this as more than a story about how women won the vote. It’s about seeing injustice and seeking to right it, standing up for what you believe in, working together effectively to make things happen and why it is important to have a voice. It’s about injustices that continue today. It’s also a story about how New Zealand led the world. It celebrates qualities of courage, determination and resilience, organisational skills and the value of cooperation. I’d also like to extend the range of this story beyond the usual focus on Kate Sheppard to encompass the role played by other women and men of the time, Māori and today’s youth’.