Saturday, February 4, 2012

Commemorating Elizabeth Yates

Back in 2009, I posted about Elizabeth Yates, the first woman mayor in the British Empire back in 1893. On February 3, while passing through Onehunga, I came upon two commemorations for this woman. But thought it somewhat odd that they were hidden away in a corner behind the main shopping street (Onehunga Mall), to the side of the church grounds of St Peter's, and on a walkway leading to the local supermarket.

My attention was attracted by one of the old Maungakiekie Community Board signs ...

... and then an Auckland City Council ceramic plaque by a tree. I did wonder if the tree was special in some way. Well, no, it wasn't for the tree ...

First, the sign. Closer examination revealed it was referring to Elizabeth Yates, although with one strange statement: "The event made world news as it was also the year New Zealand women were given the right to vote, and subsequently Elizabeth Yates was the first women [sic] to vote in the general elections, the day before she was elected mayor."

Really?? How on earth did whoever compose the wording for this sign come up with the "fact" that Elizabeth Yates was not only the first woman mayor, but somehow voted ahead of every other woman in the country? Most odd.

The sign was probably erected after the installation of the plaque, which dates from 1993, and also recognises Elizabeth Yates as the first woman mayor.

But it's a pity that these two markers are separated by quite a distance from her actual gravesite, facing Onehunga Mall.


  1. I've seen signs that have had hundreds, maybe thousands spent on them...with not only factual errors which may slip by the layman - but glaring grammatical errors...spellchecker or even an editor...failing that "a second pair of eyes" does not go astray before making a massive cock-up that could have been avoided.

    1. I love how they wrote 'women' rather than 'woman'.

  2. True. You can pretty much guarantee that the hanging sign above did cost thousands. Council stuff usually works that way.

  3. Hmmm...there's a shocker locally that was actually cast in metal. terrible grammar as well as a superfluous word in the middle of a sentence that someone missed. It doesn't make any sense at all. At what point did the foundry not point that out before they commenced to work? Mind-boggling.

  4. Any chance you might get a photo of it, just out of interest? If it isn't out of your way, though.

  5. If only I had seen this earlier, I was down there this afternoon...