Lily May Kirk
29 March 1866
Auckland, New Zealand
|Died||19 July 1921 (aged 55)|
Wadestown, New Zealand
Arthur Richmond Atkinson (m. 1900)
Lily May Atkinson (née Kirk, 29 March 1866 – 19 July 1921) was a New Zealand temperance campaigner, suffragist and feminist.
She was born in Auckland, New Zealand, on 29 March 1866, the daughter of Sarah Jane Mattocks and Thomas Kirk, a surveyor who went on to be an early Professor at Victoria University College. She received her education at Greenwood sisters' Terrace School, and in turn taught English to Chinese immigrants, and taught factory workers how to read. Despite never travelling overseas, she was fluent in German and French. She was an avid reader.
She married independent conservative member of parliament Arthur Richmond Atkinson in Wellington on 11 May 1900. Both were involved along other Wellingtonians such as Kate Edger, Ernest Beaglehole and Maurice Richmond) in the Forward Movement a progressive Christian/Educational movement and "a faithful attempt to bring the cardinal principles of Christianity, as conceived and interpreted by its best exponents, to bear on the complex conditions of modern society".
She was an active campaigner for the prohibition of alcohol, on behalf of the No Licence League (so named because alcohol outlets were already licensed), the New Zealand Alliance and the international Woman's Christian Temperance Union.
She was also active in the Plunket Society, the Kindergarten Schools Society and the New Zealand Society for the Protection of Women and Children. She promoted compulsory military training and was a member of the Dominion Council of the National Defence League of New Zealand.