Wilkins was born in Pongaroa, north Wairarapa in New Zealand on 15th December 1916 to Irish parents. He had earlier education in England at King Edward's School at the tender age of 11. He later opted for physics at St. John's College in Cambridge, and then in 1940 he completed his Ph.D. in the very subject under the University of Birmingham. It was due to his uncompromising zeal and hard work undertaken through years of meticulous research work that led to discovery of D.N.A molecule structure which was a tremendous feat of achievement in the world of science. He is also regarded as one of the handful of many New Zealanders who contributed to the upliftment science in the 20th century. He was also one of the Nobel Prize winners of New Zealand. He breathed his last at the ripe age of 87 on 2004.
Accredited as the creator of modern atomic physics, Rutherford was one of the greatest scientists of the 20th century. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1908 and a baronetcy in 1931, and is still popular as Baron Rutherford of Nelson. Coming from a humble economic background, Rutherford had to struggle a lot to make both the ends meet for his family. In order to feed his family, he did many odd jobs right from the tender age yet his penchant for innovation found its way through the aid and assistance of his elder brother and finally he attended the Nelson College. He later took admission in the Canterbury College, under University of New Zealand as known in earlier days. Rutherford's inquisitive interest in the study of radioactive atoms led to his land mark discovery in the field of Chemistry which also earned him the prestigious Nobel Prize. During the later years of his life, he devoted himself to the socio- economic causes of his country and tried to bring about a change in the very field. Throughout his life, he took great pride in his New Zealand origins and the country, too, reckons his contribution still today. He died on 19th October 1937 at the age of 66.
Kate Sheppard is widely regarded as the leader and front runner of the suffragist movement in New Zealand. It was because of her great social work that Kate became the source of inspiration to suffragists not only in her own country but throughout the world her views found a wide acceptance. Her childhood was spent in Liverpool, England under the strict religious adherence of her uncle. Though she married quite at an early stage, her enthusiastic zeal found expression through various social activities which she carried out on regular basis. The literary writings and speeches of Kate Sheppard showed a broader perspective of her mind and her approach towards creating a modern world of feminism. Sheppard was the first woman MP to enter Parliament of New Zealand. Her death in 1930 was a great loss to the whole country.
Thus, these three stalwarts have immensely contributed to the enhancement in the field of science and technology of the country and today they are no less than proud national heroes of New Zealand.
123independenceday.com provides you information on National Heroes of New Zealand.