Duchess Meghan’s empowering speech celebrating the 125th anniversary of women’s suffrage in New Zealand

The Duchess of Sussex has always been vocal about her support for women's rights - and she's applauded New Zealand for leading the way.
Loading the player...

She’s been here less than 24 hours, but Duchess Meghan is already winning Kiwis over!

The Duchess of Sussex attended a reception at Government House with her husband, Prince Harry, to celebrate 125 years of women’s suffrage last night, and delivered a fantastic and empowering speech.

Meghan was invited to speak to a group of esteemed guests that included Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, Simon Bridges, Governor-General Dame Patsy Reddy and a number of women lawmakers.

After thanking the crowd for welcoming herself and Harry, Meghan congratulated New Zealand on becoming the first country in the world to allow women to vote, effectively paving the way for others around the world to follow suit.

“In looking forward to this very special occasion, I reflected on the importance of this achievement, but also the larger impact of what this symbolises,” said Meghan.

“Because yes, women’s suffrage is about feminism, but feminism is about fairness. Suffrage is not simply about the right to vote but also about what that represents. The basic and fundamental human right of all people including those members of society who have been marginalised — whether for reasons of race, gender, ethnicity or orientation — being able to participate in the choices for their future, and their community.”

“So bravo New Zealand, for championing this right 125 years ago for the women who well deserve to have an active voice and acknowledged vote and for all the people that this effort has paved the way for globally, we all deeply thank you.

“In the words of your suffragette, Kate Sheppard, ‘All that separates, whether of race, class, creed or sex, is inhuman and must be overcome.'”

Watch Meghan’s speech in the video above…

Standing beneath a striking portrait of Queen Elizabeth II, Meghan shared a rousing speech with guests at Government House in Wellington.

Jacinda Ardern reportedly told Meghan her speech was “perfect”.

Meghan’s speech was applauded for another reason, too: she spoke a little Te Reo Māori!

The Duchess, looking slightly bashful, greeted the crowd by saying, “tena kotou katoa”, which roughly translates to ‘Greetings all’. Her effort to speak Te Reo was met with an encouraging round of applause.

Watch the moment in the video below…

Loading the player...

After the reception, Harry and Meghan got some rest after what must’ve been an exhausting day.

Today, Their Royal Highnesses are visiting youth in the mental health sector before traveling to Abel Tasman National Park to learn about some of the Department of Conservation’s measures to protect the local flora and fauna.

To stay up to date on Meghan and Harry’s four-day tour of New Zealand, click here, or check out Harry and Meghan’s tour itinerary to see what they’ll be up to next.

Related stories

Get your favourite magazines home delivered!  

Subscribe and save up to 38% on a magazine subscription.