1840: Auckland’s So-Called ‘First Lady’
August 24, 2018
As best I can make from the radio piece, Sarah Mathew is not remarkable at all. So she could carry a survey chain, walk off-road, and vocation as a governess, and travel by sail boat? Even for a women that’s nothing to wonder at, especially not for the C19th!
Why this ‘first lady’ jazz and new biography? Why this new revisionist interpretation of Mrs Felton Mathew?
“I’m very happy to be adding a strong woman’s voice to the historical record which, frankly, has traditionally side-lined or ignored the female experience.”
‘Personally I think… I feel that she does deserve to be right up there.’
Answer: Because dragging up women from the past and re-imagining them as Feminist icons attracts rate-payer funding from Auckland Council in its own right. Tessa Duder (author) is cashing in, hence her emphasis on feeling like Sarah was something she was not. Because apparently being a supportive wife isn’t enough of an achievement!
Image ref. Sarah; Sir George Grey Special Collections
Mr and Mrs Mathew arrived in NZ, 17 March 1840