125 'extraordinary' NZ women honoured in new art exhibition

This year is the 125th anniversary of women's suffrage in New Zealand, and a Kiwi artist is creating something special to mark it.

Kate Hursthouse is drawing 125 "extraordinary New Zealand women" - one for each year our wāhine have been able to vote.

You'll probably recognise a few of them; most are trailblazers, some overcame adversity, and others have inspired - but all of them have a story to tell.

"I really want to give these women a new lease on life, and kind of portray them in a different way," says Ms Hursthouse.

She says she saw a similar project in the US in 2016, and was inspired to bring the concept home. Initially she began drawing well-known New Zealand women, but then decided to delve a little deeper.

"There are a lot of women who have done a lot of things in some lesser known professions - there's some scientists, some botanists, astronomers, people who have worked in Antarctica."

Among them is New Zealand's first female doctor, the first Māori woman elected to parliament, and our first female Olympic medallist.

Ms Hursthouse uses an iPad to illustrate, and her mother Karen Brook researches and writes each profile. The duo has been releasing four portraits a week on social media.

They started on International Women's Day, and will continue until the anniversary of women's suffrage.

"At the end in September, we'd really like to turn this into an exhibition that showcases the 125 women all in one space."

Ms Hursthouse hopes to eventually turn the profiles into a book, and says she's even been asked to use them in schools.

"I love the idea that younger New Zealand girls can read these stories in their classrooms and think, 'Man she did that in 1950, I can do that now'."

Maybe inspiring the next generation of trailblazing New Zealand women.