Catherine Stewart

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Catherine Stewart
Catherine Stewart.jpg
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Wellington West
In office
15 October 1938 – 25 September 1943
Preceded by Constituency created
Succeeded by Charles Bowden
Personal details
Born 15 August 1881
Glasgow, Scotland
Died 2 April 1957
Glasgow, Scotland
Political party Labour

Catherine Campbell Stewart (née Sword, 15 August 1881 – 2 April 1957) was a New Zealand politician of the Labour Party.

Early life

Born in Glasgow, she migrated with her family to New Zealand in 1921. She was an ardent suffragette, and a member of the Theosophical Society.[1] At Labour's 1938 conference Stewart stated "I am not speaking as a feminist but as a woman who wishes to stand shoulder to shoulder with our men" in her acceptance to stand as a party candidate.[1]

Political career

New Zealand Parliament
Years Term Electorate Party
1938–1943 26th Wellington West Labour

She won the Wellington West electorate in the 1938 election, when she defeated long-standing MP Robert Alexander Wright.[2] She was the second woman to be elected to Parliament after Elizabeth McCombs and first to enter parliament as a result of a general election. Stewart saw herself as the "Member for Everywoman" and felt obliged to concentrate on issues in the interests of women, children and those in need.[1] In 1941, she was joined by Mary Dreaver, also of the Labour party, bringing the total of female MPs to two.[3]

Stewart was defeated in the next election held in 1943. This was seen as a result of public vilification due to two of her sons, who were conscientious objectors during World War II.[1] Later she was unsuccessfully nominated for a position on the New Zealand Legislative Council by Labour’s Karori branch in her old electorate.

After the death of her husband Charles in 1948, she returned to live in Glasgow, where she died on 2 April 1957.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e Nicholls, Roberta. "Stewart, Catherine Campbell". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved 10 November 2013. 
  2. ^ "The General Election, 1938". National Library. 1939. p. 5. Retrieved 8 February 2012. 
  3. ^ Laracy, Hugh. "Dreaver, Mary Manson". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved 18 November 2015. 
  • Wilson, James Oakley (1985) [First published in 1913]. New Zealand Parliamentary Record, 1840–1984 (4th ed.). Wellington: V.R. Ward, Govt. Printer. OCLC 154283103. 
  • Women in Parliamentary Life 1970-1990: Hocken Lecture 1993 by Marilyn Waring, page 35-36 (Hocken Library, University of Otago, 1994) ISBN 0-902041-61-4
New Zealand Parliament
New constituency Member of Parliament for Wellington West
Succeeded by
Charles Bowden
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