Jane Maria Atkinson

New Zealand feminist

Jane Maria Atkinson née Richmond (15 September 1824 to 29 September 1914) was a pioneer, writer, and the first British woman to climb Mt Taranaki.

Early lifeEdit

Maria grew up in a Unitarian household. The early death of her father, Christopher Richmond, caused financial trouble for the family. At the age of 28, Maria and her family left for New Zealand along with the Hursthouses, Richmonds, and Ronalds. They came to Auckland May 25th, 1853.[1] They moved to the early New Plymouth colony. She and Arthur Samuel Atkinson found love on the ship. They married 30 December 1854.

New ZealandEdit

Maria first was a pioneering housewife and mother. She and Arthur moved to Nelson, New Zealand in 1867. In Nelson she became active in the community. She helped support women's right to vote, talked to many about forming a girl's college and guided a debate team.[2] The Atkinsons let teachers for Nelson College for Girls use their home called Fairfield House.[3]


  1. Porter, Frances. "Atkinson, Jane Maria". Te Ara Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Retrieved 24 April 2011. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. Ministry for Culture and Heritage. "Jane Maria Atkinson". Retrieved 24 April 2011. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. Fairfield House. "History". Retrieved 24 April 2011. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)

More readingEdit

  • Born to New Zealand: A Biography of Jane Maria Atkinson by Frances Porter (1989, Allen & Unwin/Port Nicholson Press, Wellington) ISBN 0908-91285-4