Amey & William Daldy
Amey Daldy was one of the prime forces behind Women’s suffrage in Auckland, in this she was fully supported by her husband who spoke at Suffrage meetings in the 1890s.
Amey Hamerton and her brother John arrived in Auckland in 1860. During her first marriage to Willam Henry Smith, Amey ran a ‘ladies’ seminary’ and William a bootmaking business on Karangahape Road.
Following his death in 1879 Amey Smith married William Daldy at Otahuhu. Daldy was a 64 yr old widower, his first wife having died in 1877.
Both Amey Daldy and her husband were staunch Congregationalists, and their religious beliefs helped shape their egalitarian views.
In 1885 Amey Daldy became a foundation member of the Auckland branch of the New Zealand Women’s Christian Temperance Union.
In 1892 she represented the WCTU at a meeting held to revitalise the Auckland tailoresses’ Union.
On 1 June 1892 Amey Daldy spoke at a meeting held in Auckland to consider forming a branch of the Women’s Franchise League.
She claimed that although women wanted the vote, they did not wish to enter Parliament. However, she later explained her statement to Sir George Grey, whose views were more radical than her own, by saying that she ‘did not want to frighten the public’.
After her husband’s death in 1903 she was disconsolate: ‘few, if any, of our women know how much they owe to his influence in keeping me up to my duty, for I acknowledge that I did sometimes shrink from the odium of publicity and an unpopular movement. What I can do without him I do not know.’
In 1905 Amey Daldy suffered a stroke. Unable to speak or walk, she was confined to bed for 15 years until she died at Auckland aged 91 on 17 August 1920.
She left legacies of £2,000 each to the New Zealand Congregational Ministers’ Retiring Fund, the Salvation Army Rescue Fund, the Door of Hope Association, the Auckland YWCA, the NCW and the WCTU.
Her bequest to the YWCA enabled the organisation to build a hostel in Auckland which was erected on Queen Street next to the newly formed Myers Park.
A woman of radical views for her age and time, Amey Daldy campaigned fervently and fearlessly for women’s rights and for social justice.