This site offers key historical facts relating to the journey of Mary Clement Leavitt (1830-1912), world missionary for the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union, in New Zealand. Some questions I am working on are as follows:
- Why was the WCTU NZ so effective an organizational mechanism for women’s activism across so many class, ethnic, and geographic boundaries in New Zealand?
- Why did Mary C. Leavitt chose Anne Ward as the Provisional President for the WCTU in New Zealand – instead of some of the already established leaders such as Emma E. Packe of Dunedin or Anne Brame of Auckland? (See the list of New Zealand’s suffragists I started in Wikipedia.)
- How did the strong entrepreneurial spirit and cultural standing of Māori women establishing ties to the WCTU, such as Leavitt’s meeting in March 1885 with Tepaea “Sophia” Hinerangi, contribute to the success of temperance outreach and women’s political empowerment thereafter?
- Leavitt wrote of her disappointment in not succeeding at organising a Union in Wellington and in Nelson while she was in New Zealand – why were these two cities different?
- How did audiences react when they realized that Leavitt’s speaking style was so different from so many other Gospel Temperance orators – and from the various independent churches’ women preachers of the time?
- How did Ward’s organizational method differ from Leavitt’s? Which churches or clubs in the various places were most equipped to host and support Leavitt’s and Ward’s efforts? How did those strategies differ in rural areas vs urban areas?
- How did Leavitt survive such a grueling schedule of traveling (perhaps even camping out in some rural areas), then successfully presenting herself to a critical audience – and giving 30-45 minute speeches (sometimes three times a day) – at the age of 55?
- In what ways did the local women activists contribute to or detract from “polite” societal norms in order to maintain a woman-led organisation fighting for the rights of women and children?
Constructive comments and suggestions (see feedback form below) are very welcome.
Leavitt’s Tour of New Zealand by City by Date
Auckland January 14-March 16; June 25-28
Ponsonby Feb 10
Remuera Feb 12-13
Newton Feb 13
Onehunga Feb 14
Thames Feb 17
Parnell Feb 18-22
Newmarket Feb 25
Travel to Lake District
Cambridge March 2
Tauranga then Wairoa (sometime in this time period)
Te Aroha March 12 (then back to Auckland by 15 March)
Wellington March 20
Lower Hutt March 30-31
Dunedin April 11 – April 29
Ravensbourne (not sure of date for her visit – June 19th is when they organize their chapter with the help of the Dunedin WCTU)
Oamaru April 19-?
Invercargill April 30 – May 3
Port Chalmers May 5
Dunedin May 5-8
Christchurch May 9-31
Richmond May 19
Sydenham May 21
Papanui May 26
Rangiora May 27
Napier June 7-24
Waipawa June 17
Waipukurau (not sure of date for this event)
then back to Auckland by June 25 for departure to Sydney, Australia on the 28th