Lily May Atkinson

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Lily May Atkinson (née Kirk, 29 March 1866 – 19 July 1921) was a New Zealand temperance campaigner, suffragist and feminist.


She was born in Auckland, New Zealand on 29 March 1866, the daughter of Sarah Jane Mattocks and Thomas Kirk, a surveyor who went on to be an early Professor at Victoria University College (now the Victoria University of Wellington).[1]

She was married to independent conservative Member of Parliament Arthur Richmond Atkinson. Both were involved along other Wellingtonians such as Kate Edger, Ernest Beaglehole and Maurice Richmond) in the Forward Movement a progressive Christian/Educational movement and 'a faithful attempt to bring the cardinal principles of Christianity, as conceived and interpreted by its best exponents, to bear on the complex conditions of modern society.'[2]

She was an active campaigner for the prohibition of alcohol, on behalf of the No Licence League (so named because alcohol outlets were already licensed), the New Zealand Alliance and the international Woman's Christian Temperance Union.[3]

She was also active in the Plunket Society, the Kindergarten Schools Society and the New Zealand Society for the Protection of Women and Children. She promoted compulsory military training and was a member of the Dominion Council of the National Defence League of New Zealand.

She died on 19 July 1921[1] and was buried in Karori Cemetery.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Porter, Frances. "Lily May Atkinson". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved December 2011. 
  2. ^ Beaglehole, Tim (2012). "A Life of J. C. Beaglehole: New Zealand Scholar". p. 34. Retrieved 1 March 2012. 
  3. ^ "Papers Past — Evening Post — 21 May 1914 — Women in Print.". 2012. Retrieved 1 March 2012. 
  4. ^ "Graves of Note - Lily May Atkinson - Wellington - New Zealand". 2012. Retrieved 1 March 2012.