Ettie: A life of Ettie Rout. Born in 1877 in Tasmania, Ettie came to New Zealand at seven and lived in Wellington. After her family moved to Christchurch she became a shorthand typist and ran her own business. She was one of the first official shorthand writers in courts and on royal commissions. She became involved in the labour movement and was the founding editor of the Maoriland Worker. A paper started by the Shearers’ Federation of which she was an honorary member. Furthermore, the most successful left-wing paper in the country as the Worker and the Standard, was Maoriland Worker.
In World War I, Ettie formed the New Zealand Volunteer Sisterhood and took a group of women to Egypt. She opened canteens in the desert in 1916. The following year she moved to London and started her safer sex campaign, doing the research for a kit specifically designed for New Zealanders. She achieved her aim of compulsory kit issue in the NZEF by October. In 1918 she went to Paris and found a madam who would turn her licenced house into a safe sex brothel, with compulsory use of prophylaxis. She settled in London after the war and wrote many books, including Safe Marriage, which was banned in New Zealand as it was a contraceptive and prophylaxis manual. She committed suicide in Rarotonga in 1936 after a short visit to New Zealand.
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