In the 1970s Patricia Bartlett, Lower Hutt morals campaigner, was a household name.
Born in Napier in 1928, Bartlett trained as a teacher before entering the Sisters of Mercy convent aged 22. She left the nunnery in 1969 over concerns about her letters to film censors and newspapers.
The next year she established the Society for the Promotion of Community Standards to oppose pornography, homosexuality, abortion and sex education in schools. She dedicated the next 25 years to public activism.
Bartlett was often ridiculed but according to her obituary in the Evening Post, “she was a bright, personable and funny individual with a level of courage few of her contemporaries could muster.”
In 1977 she was given an OBE for services to the community. Bartlett died in 2000.
In 1893 New Zealand became the first country in the world in which all women gained the right to vote in general elections. 2018 marks the 125th anniversary of women’s suffrage in New Zealand. For more information about the anniversary visit Suffrage 125 on Facebook.
This is part of a series sharing the stories and lives of women who have a connection to Lower Hutt.