It is difficult to imagine a world without the contribution of Kate Sheppard.
We chose the name of our chambers in recognition of the vision, dedication, and achievements of Kate, and of course those who fought beside her, for the advancement of women. We further acknowledge those equally deserving of recognition, particularly wāhine Māori, in the cause of women’s suffrage. After nearly a decade of hard work and organising, the Electoral Act 1893 became law on 19 September 1893. As a result, Aotearoa became the first country in the world where women could vote.
We recognise and respect the distinct experiences of wāhine Māori in this cause, experiences that were not without hardship. Together today, we all share a common goal with the original suffrage movement – to improve women’s lives. It is not unforeseeable that without these remarkable women from our history, we would not be able to become lawyers, let alone chart our own course by establishing this chambers.
The flower in our logo, designed by Jane Byrne of Little Gem Design, is symbolic of the white camellias worn by supporters of women’s right to vote. The budding flower represents the fight for equality is not over. Kate would no doubt be delighted to see the progress made since 1893. However, much is left to do.
Kate Sheppard Chambers is a fully virtual chambers. From a geographical perspective, however, the connection to Kate Sheppard continues. Charlotte and Isabella, who established KSC in 2020, became friends while sharing a daily coffee break on Kate Sheppard Place in Wellington.
The members of Kate Sheppard Chambers are inspired every day by our shared history to work towards inclusivity and equality.
The members of Kate Sheppard Chambers support and promote women in the law.
We want to make it easier for women to come to the Bar. There are too few of us. Kate Sheppard Chambers is deliberately non-hierarchical and non-competitive. Supportiveness and collegiality are our overriding principles.
Being a virtual chambers allows members to be located across the country and structure their working conditions in the way that best suits them. Members are connected, flexible, and available for their clients, while also fulfilling their interests and responsibilities outside the law.
We value assisting and encouraging those starting out in the law. To this end, Kate Sheppard Chambers established a scholarship for Victoria University of Wellington students. The Kate Sheppard Chambers Scholarship, administered by Victoria University, is awarded annually for research relating to women and the law. Members of Kate Sheppard Chambers are available to mentor scholarship recipients. Kate Sheppard Chambers also welcomes enquiries from organisations to sponsor events seeking to promote women in the law.
Kate Sheppard Chambers
PO Box 10 318