Sharing Kaupapa Māori Online

Kia Ora koutou,

It has been a month since Aotearoa moved to Alert Level 4 for Covid19 on March 25 at 11.59pm. At the time we were engaged in a series of Hui that were led by Ngā Wai a Te Tūī in collaboration with Tū Tama Wāhine o Taranaki. As we settled into our nohonga haumaru (safe place/retreat) – which some are referring to as mirumiru (bubbles) – around the motu there was much discussion around how we could provide support to those confined to our whare in the form of sharing kōrero online. As a researcher who is fortunate to be a part of both Tū Tama Wāhine o Taranaki and Ngā Wai a Te Tūī (located at Unitec) key part of the mahi we had planned to launch in March and April was a series of Kaupapa Māori research hui as a part of two projects ‘He Waka Eke Noa’ – Māori cultural frameworks for violence prevention and intervention and ‘He Punaha Hohourongo’ – Developing A Family Violence Prevention strategy within Taranaki. Both mahi rangahau are supported by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE).

The idea to start these hui online came from within our nohonga haumaru from my partner Marjorie who is both a Kaupapa Māori practitioner and a Phd scholar, and who saw the opportunity to bring together Māori academics, Linda Tuhiwai Smith and Graham Hingangaroa Smith together to share thoughts, reflections and insights on Kaupapa Māori to an online audience. These online kōrero are an opening discussion and are a contribution from Tū Tama Wāhine o Taranaki and Ngā Wai a Te Tūī to those that are working in Kaupapa Māori spaces as both practitioners and researchers. In particular to support those that are developing longer term Kaupapa Māori research and development within their own whānau, hapū, iwi and Māori organisations.

This blog provides links to each of the six korero:

Kōrero 1 – The foundations of Kaupapa Māori Theory: Distinguished Professor Graham Hingangaroa Smith
On this online video kōrero Graham Hingangaroa Smith discusses the emergence of Kaupapa Māori Theory from work undertaken alongside Māori educational initiatives in the 1980s. Graham will provide insights into the development of Kaupapa Māori Theory and the key elements of analysis that sit within the six foundational principles.

Kōrero 2 – Decolonising Methodologies: Professor Linda Tuhiwai Smith
On this online video kōrero Linda Tuhiwai Smith shares thoughts on Kaupapa Maori, Decolonising methodologies and the need to continue to develop, articulate and apply our own methodologies as an ongoing part of our wider cultural renaissance and regeneration projects.

Kaupapa Māori Online Series Episode 2

Kōrero 3 – Kaupapa Māori and responding to new formations of colonisation: Distinguished Professor Graham Hingangaroa Smith
On this online video kōrero Graham Hingangaroa Smith will respond to a series of questions on Kaupapa Maori and new formations of colonisation, reflections on what we need to considering now as Māori and Indigenous Peoples in this context of Covid19.

Kaupapa Māori Online Series Episode 3

Kōrero 4 – Kaupapa Maori Theory as an expression of tino rangatiratanga (Self-determination, sovereignty): Professor Leonie Pihama
On this online video kōrero Leonie Pihama will discuss her views on the importance of continuing to assert and expand Kaupapa Maori theory and principles within our work and the ongoing challenges in the assertion of tino rangatiratanga within theory and research spaces.

Kōrero 5 – Reflections on Māori and Indigenous Futures: Professor Linda Tuhiwai Smith
On this online video kōrero Linda Tuhiwai Smith with share her current thinking in the articulation of new projects for Indigenous Peoples as we envision our futures, strengthening our relationships across the globe and the impact of Covid19.

Kaupapa Māori Online Series Episode 5

Kōrero 6 – Kei te ahu mātou ki hea: Kaupapa Maori Theory and Methodology: Where to from here? Panel: Professor Linda Tuhiwai Smith; Professor Graham Hingangaroa Smith; Professor Leonie Pihama with Professor Margie Maaka
On this online video kōrero Margie Maaka will chair a discussion with Graham Hingangaroa Smith, Linda Tuhiwai Smith, Leonie Pihama the place of Kaupapa Māori Theory and Methodology in 2020 and beyond, the contribution it has to make to future developments for Māori and Indigenous Peoples and their visions for the future.

Kaupapa Māori Online Series Episode 6

As we move closer to Alert Level 3 in the next week I want to take this time to acknowledge those that supported and contributed to the online sharing including our kaikōrero: Linda Tuhiwai Smith and Graham Hingangaroa Smith; our chair for the closing session: Margie Maaka with Laiana Wong (UH Manoa); Our kōrero host on behalf of Ngā Wai a Te Tūī – Wetini Paul; Tū Tama Wahine o Taranaki, in particular Awhina Cameron and Ngaropi Cameron & Ngā Wai a Te Tūī Director Jenny Lee-Morgan for providing support for the series; and to my nohonga haumaru – Marjorie, Wiremu and Terehia Lipsham for providing the space and time as they waited patiently to get kai from the kitchen and walked quietly around the whare as we talked for hours over the past 4 weeks on our many Zoom Hui (Zui). Nō reira, ki a koutou katoa, tēnā koutou.

Kaupapa Māori Kōrero online is developed through research projects supported by the following organisations:
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Kia Mataara : Resources from Kia Mōhio Kia Mārama Trust

Tēnā koutou katoa,

This blog is to share the Kia Mataara series of resources on the history of Aotearoa and a range of political issues up to the end of the 1990’s. The Kia Mataara series was created by Kia Mōhio Kia Mārama Trust.

Last year I was given permission to digitally reproduce this series so that it could be made more widely available. This is the first public sharing of the resources in digital form with the agreement of those that produced the publications. Finding a full set of the publications took some time and it was Bronwyn Yates and Barbara Menzies that provided the set that is held by Literacy Aotearoa to enable the digitising of the series. The series was produced through the efforts of Kia Mōhio Kia Mārama Trust and the graphics for the series were created by Moana Maniapoto. What is clear is that this publications provide a Kaupapa Māori approach to the issues discussed and the form used (which would be now referred to as a graphic novel) was to ensure that the information is accessible.

In describing the creation of the Kia Mataara series Moana Maniapoto states:
“When I came out of university – this was the mid-80s – I worked for a trust and it had people like Jane Kelsey and Rob Cooper who were really into decolonisation. I was a bit of a freshie coming out of uni, so they mentored me. I spent two years with this woman, Barbara Menzies, she’s a former nun, researching and looking at colonisation, and we created these journals for schools and I’d do all the graphics.We looked at religion and spirituality, justice, land, there were 12 of these journals”. (

We are now in week three of the rāhui in Aotearoa as a result of Level 4 requirements of Covid19. Rāhui refers to the putting in place a period of ritual prohibition and is the term being used by many Māori for the current period of being restricted in movement due to Covid19. Rāhui is a measure utilised to enable the closing or restricting of a particular space and in this time is a way to understand and think about our own cultural processes for ensuring wellbeing. During this time many people across all education sites are adjusting to new ways of creating and sharing information and knowledge. There has been an exponential growth of zoom hui (come to be known by many as Zui) and sharing of resources. It is then a good time to share this series and to reflect on the political issues raised within each of the 13 publications.

Nō reira, he mihi maioha ki a koutou o Kia Mōhio Kia Mārama Trust mō ō koutou mahi whakahirahira, me ō koutou whakaaetanga kia tuku ēnei pukapuka ki te ao. Tēnā koutou.

Kia Mataara an introduction

Kia Mataara Chapter 1

Kia Mataara Chapter 2

Kia Mataara Chapter 3

Kia Mataara Chapter 4

Kia Mataara Chapter 5

Kia Mataara Chapter 6

Kia Mataara Chapter 7

Kia Mataara Chapter 8

Kia Mataara Chapter 9

Kia Mataara Chapter 10

Kia Mataara Chapter 11

Kia Mataara Chapter 12

Mana Wahine Readers

Tēnā koutou,

This blog is not so much a blog as it is a means by which to support the dissemination of two online resources related to Mana Wahine that have been developed with Te Kotahi Research Institute and supported by Ngā Pae o Te Māramatanga.

The idea to develop a Mana Wahine reader was generated from the many requests that Linda and myself have had to provide references or support in the area of Mana Wahine, both as theory and as lived ways of being. The concept of Mana Wahine is not new to us as Māori, as whānau, as hapū, as iwi, rather it is embedded within the whakapapa and whanaungatanga relationships that are themselves grounded within tikanga. Over the past 32 years there has been a steady increase in the writings and creative works by Māori women, each of which contribute to an affirmation of ourselves in our many diverse experiences and provide critique and analysis of our experiences as Māori.

What we have sought to provide in this collection is a range of writings on Mana Wahine from 1987 – 2019, including poems from Linda Tuhiwai Smith and Hinewirangi Kohu to open each of the two volumes. We close Volume two with new articles by Kirsten Gabel, Joeliee Seed-Pihama, Naomi Simmonds and myself, each of which draw heavily on earlier works. The cover images have been gifted by Robyn Kahukiwa and represent two commanding atua wahine, Mahuika and Hineteiwaiwa, who bring the power of their respective domains to the publications. The articles within the readers are as follows:

Mana Wahine Reader Volume One

Don’t Mess with the Māori Woman – Linda Tuhiwai Smith
To Us the Dreamers are Important – Rangimarie Mihomiho Rose Pere
He Aha Te Mea Nui? – Waerete Norman
He Whiriwhiri Wahine: Framing Women’s Studies for Aotearoa Ngahuia Te Awekotuku
Kia Mau, Kia Manawanui We will Never Go Away: Experiences of a Māori Lesbian Feminist – Ngahuia Te Awekotuku
Māori Women: Discourses, Projects and Mana Wahine – Linda Tuhiwai Smith
Becoming an Academic: Contradictions and Dilemmas of a Māori Feminist – Kathie Irwin
Towards Theories of Māori Feminisms – Kathie Irwin 66 Reflections on the Status of Māori Women – Kuni Jenkins
Getting Out From Down Under: Māori Women, Education and the Struggles for Mana Wahine – Linda Tuhiwai Smith
From Head and Shoulders – Merata Mita
Hokianga Waiata a Nga Tupuna Wahine: Journeys through Mana Wahine, Mana Tane – Margie Hohepa
The Marginalisation of Māori Women – Patricia Johnston and Leonie Pihama
The Negation of Powerlessness: Māori Feminism, a Perspective – Ripeka Evans
Māori Women: Caught in the Contradictions of a Colonised Reality – Annie Mikaere
What Counts as Difference and what Differences Count: Gender, Race and the Politics of Difference – Patricia Johnston and Leonie Pihama
Māori Women and Domestic Violence: The Methodology of Research and the Māori Perspective -Stephanie Milroy
Towards a Theory of Mana Wahine – Huia Tomlins Jahnke
Sacred Balance – Aroha Te Pareake Mead

Mana Wahine Reader Volume Two

Ngā Māreikura – Nā Hinewirangi Kohu-Morgan
Colonisation and the Imposition of Patriarchy: A Ngāti Raukawa Women’s Perspective – Ani Mikaere
Constitutional Reform and Mana Wahine – Annette Sykes
Claiming our Ethical Space: A Mana Wahine Conceptual Framework for Discussing Genetic Modification – Jessica Hutchings
Matauranga Wahine: Teaching Māori Women’s Knowledge Alongside Feminism – Kuni Jenkins and Leonie Pihama
Reclaiming the Ancient Feminine in Māori Society: Kei Wareware i a Tātou Te Ūkaipō! – Aroha Yates-Smith
Mana Wahine Theory: Creating Space for Māori Women’s Theories – Leonie Pihama
Te Ukaipo – Te Taiao: The Mother, the Nurturer – Nature – Aroha Yates-Smith
Echoed Silences in Absentia: Mana Wahine in Institutional Contexts – Hine Waitere and Patricia Johnson
Mana Wahine: Decolonising Politics – Naomi Simmonds
Te Awa Atua: The River of Life! Menstruation in Pre-Colonial Times – Ngāhuia Murphy
It’s About Whānau: Oppression, Sexuality, and Mana – Kim McBreen
In search of Our Nannies’ Gardens: A Mana Wahine Geography of Maternities in Aotearoa – Naomi Simmonds
Never-Ending Beginnings: The Circularity of Mana Wāhine – Naomi Simmonds
Poipoia Te Tamaiti Ki Te Ūkaipō: Theorising Māori Motherhood – Kirsten Gabel
Kapohia Ngā Taonga ā Kui Mā: Liberty from the Theft of Our Matrilineal Names – Joeliee Seed-Pihama
Mana Atua, Mana Tangata, Mana Wahine – Leonie Pihama

The key intent of these readers is to make these writings more accessible as many are in publications that are now either out of print or difficult to access. We acknowledge and thank the authors and the original publishers for agreeing to have these writings included. The whānau at Te Kotahi were focused on this work for some time, as what appeared to be a relatively straightforward ‘idea’ required much more that initially thought. Sourcing articles, contacting authors or their whānau, duplicating, transferring to new formats and then checking word for word was time consuming and even now we are not certain if errors have made their way into the final texts. As such, on behalf of the co-editors, it is important that we acknowledge the mahi done by those within Te Kotahi to see this project to it’s completion. We also apologise in advance for any errors that exist in the reproduction of the original articles.

There are many other articles that could have been included and which someone may wish to create as a Mana Wahine Reader Volume 3 or Volume 4. In fact, many more were suggested however resource constraints meant we needed to reduce the final number included. The funding support from Ngā Pae o Te Māramatanga has enabled us to create resources that are free to download and therefore easy to access and to share.

We are honoured to have been able to reprint these writings to make them more readily available nationally and internationally.  Early 2021 these volumes will be made available through Te Tākupu publishers. 

Ngā manaakitanga.


Te Taonga o taku Ngākau:Ancestral knowledge and the wellbeing of tamariki Māori

Over the past 2 years I have had the honour of working with Drs Naomi Simmonds and Waikaremoana Waitoki, with Te Kotahi Research Institute ( on a small research project funded by Cure Kids and the Better Start National science challenge. The research ‘Te Taonga o taku Ngākau’ is a part of a wider commitment that many Māori people have undertaken to contribute to the positive and supportive transmission of mātauranga Māori towards wellbeing for tamariki and their whole whānau. As such it is a part of a whānau ora aspiration. Whānau ora in this context is not about policy or programmes but is about our inherent desire for wellbeing within our whānau.

‘Te Taonga o taku Ngākau’ is a Kaupapa Māori research project that situates the wellbeing of tamariki Māori within the context of well and thriving whānau. The purpose of the research was to consider frameworks, values and actions for whānau transformation that exist within mātauranga Māori as share by whānau ourselves. Importantly, the research seeks to share ways in which whānau generate, through purposeful action, wellbeing from within mātauranga and tikanga Māori.

This blog is to share the Te Taonga o taku Ngākau report. It is a report that synthesizes the research with a specific view to prioritizing the voices, experiences, knowledges and practices of the research community that have shared their taonga with the research team. Please feel free to download and share.

Ngā manaakitanga.

Te Taonga o Taku Ngakau – Final report

Merata: How Mum Decolonised the Screen : A Commentary

“The way I see it, if you’re a Māori woman and that’s all you are, that alone will put you on a collision course with, that society and its expectations. And if you flatly refuse to give up your Māori value system for an easier way of life, and you live in a society which is supposed to be bicultural and multiracial but isn’t – that’s a lie – then you’ll be in constant conflict with how that society is run and how it sees itself. That’s been my experience.” (Merata Mita in Head and Shoulders).

There is something particularly powerful about the voices of the whānau as they share the story of the life and works of their mother, Merata Mita. It is a narrative form that has sat at the centre of her work and her inspirational approach to her storytelling, both documentary and drama. In ‘Merata: How Mum Decolonised the Screen’ Director, Heperi Mita (Merata’s youngest son) takes us through a whānau journey that brings to the fore the many experiences that both shaped and motivated his mothers life and work. When whānau share their stories of those they love it is layered, like a well recited cultural genealogical template that is our whakapapa.

Whakapapa is both identity and stories. It is a cultural framework through which we come to recall who we are, where we are from, the collectives to which we are connected and to whom we are responsible. It is a series of layers that go as long, as deep, as high, as wide as we determine as Māori. This story, in my view, is inherently one of whakapapa kōrero, of storytelling that is deeply embedded within and emboldened by the influences of our connections and relational way of understanding our place and our role in the world.

In the opening sequence Hepi speaks to his role as an archivist and the place Merata’s films play in the creation of spaces to enable the telling of this country’s stories. Stories, that even today, many seek to deny and to silence. For years Merata Mita struggled in a space where Māori voices were denied, Māori stories were deemed insignificant and where Māori women’s place was contested, sometimes even by our own men, where colonial notions of gender worked to marginalise the fundamental essence of Mana Wahine. Merata worked relentlessly and unapologetically in those spaces with a hope that “once the work shows you are capable then prejudices of race and sex may fall away” (Merata Mita).

Across her works, Merata actively engaged issues of colonisation, racism, sexism and classism, and represented examples of the intersection of those issues before many even considered the ways in which such multiple intersecting oppressions impacted upon our people. Her commentary within interviews about her work highlight a desire and intention to bring forward all of those issues when it was far from acceptable to do so, including issues that were deeply personal. As is so clearly articulated by all voices in the film, her work has also been critical in the remembering of the courage and strength of Māori and Indigenous nations that live in a context of colonial occupation. As her reflections on the documentary ‘Bastion Point Day 507’ highlights,
“What courage, what strength what commitment what dedication to stand and say, in the face of our army and our police and the rest of the country howling for their blood. What extraordinary people. From that day forward I have been fearless because its as if you’ve become part of something greater its like a rebirth its kind of like when you fear nothing, when you lose your fear about anything it makes you that much more powerful you get so much more strength” (Merata Mita)

The work of Merata Mita has been a powerful critical influence for many Indigenous Peoples. It has also been influential in the ways that Māori and Indigenous films and storytelling has evolved over the past 40 years. This documentary tells us of the life of a mother, a film maker, an activist, a mentor, a storyteller, a change agent. It tells us of Mana Wahine, of tino rangatiratanga (self-determination), and of work driven by an aspirational vision for a future where all of our tamariki and mokopuna can live fully as Māori on our own lands. It also reveals to the world the struggles that she as a Māori women filmmaker and her tamariki endured in order to be a part of the transformative change that is needed in Aotearoa. As Merata voiced, “When you come up against that kind of racism, you know… so raw its probably one of the ugliest things you have to experience in your lifetime. But the fact of the matter is that when you have children you have an investment in the future and so you come out fighting again”.

That is a message that is all too common in the experiences of many Māori activists and their whānau across a range of struggles and movements in this country. Being at the cutting edge of challenging the status quo, in order to seek change for future generations, often comes at a high cost. And most often that cost is borne by whānau. As we weave through the stories shared by Hepi, Rafer, Richard, Rhys, Awatea, Eruera (to whom the film is dedicated), we hear of painful experiences that the whānau have carried, such as police violence during the production of films such as ‘Patu’, we also hear of the involvement of whānau throughout each of her films and reflections that highlight a deep sense of aroha and respect for the work that Merata brought to the world. We are also reminded of the centrality of whānau to the work. Both as support and as inspiration. The reflections shared are testament to the powerful contribution that whānau make to the act of sharing forward the stories that are of those Māori women, Māori people that put themselves at the forefront of the struggles of our people. This is something Merata did many times with films such as Patu, Bastion Point Day 507, Te Hikoi Ki Waitangi, Mauri and others. We hear also of the life influences that are integral to her work including the bringing forward of her cultural and spiritual understandings within films such as Mauri (1988) where the audience experiences a broad range of cultural, political, emotional and spiritual responses, aligning to her view that “wairua is an active force in filmmaking” (Merata Mita).

What ‘Merata: How Mum Decolonised the Screen’ presents us with is not only the story of the first Māori woman to write and direct a feature film (Mauri 1988), which in and of itself shows us that powerhouse of a Māori woman she was, it is a story of the perseverance of a Māori woman to bring our stories, our images, our histories, our struggles, our people, ourselves to the screen in order to challenge the world to become a better place for our tamariki and mokopuna.
“Our land get taken the fisheries and forests get taken and in the same category is our stories. What we see on the screen is only the dominant white monocultural perspective on life, we need to see our own,we need to see our own people up there, we need to be able to identify with our own race, we need to see each other up there and we need to go out and do it.” (Merata Mita)

This is a documentary that opens the door for many who have not seen the extensive collection that is the work of Merata Mita, and encourages us all to seek out her works as a way of understanding many of the issues that we currently face here in Aotearoa. These are works that context racism, sexism, classism as inherent to the ongoing systems of colonisation. As the current debate over the inclusion of Māori history within education continues to rage, we are reminded that in order to move forward in Aotearoa we must come to terms with our past. The influence of Merata’s work in the context of decolonisation is internationally renowned and validated as evidenced through her close relationships with Indigenous filmmakers such as Alanis Obomsawin (Abenaki), Hawaiian Sovereignty leader and scholar Haunani Kay Trask and Sundance Indigenous Progamme leaders Heather Rae (Cherokee) and Bird Runningwater (Cheyanne/Mescalaro Apache), amongst many others.

Decolonising and Indigenising the screen has never been solely about image, or the narrative. It is about the essence of what it means to be Māori, what it means to be Indigenous. It is fundamental to challenging dominant colonial imagery and representations. It is about telling those stories, framing those images and shaping our understandings in ways that align to our cultural, spiritual, emotional and intellectual ways of being as Māori and Indigenous Nations. It is about our right to be self-determining in all spaces, including film. What is clear from is that for our stories as Māori and Indigenous Peoples to be heard we must tell them ourselves. We must see ourselves and we must create those images through our own lens. That has always sat at the centre of the decolonising intent of Merata’s work. An intent that has been honoured in this documentary by those that most count. Her children.

Merata: How Mum Decolonised The Screen opens in Cinema’s nationwide in Aotearoa (New Zealand) on ‘Mothers Day’, May 10th 2019

Production company: Arama Pictures
Director: Heperi Mita
Producer: Chelsea Winstanley
Executive producer: Cliff Curtis
Director of photography: Mike Jonathon
Editor: Te Rurehe Paki
Featuring: Merata Mita, Rafer Rautjoki, Richard Rautjoki, Rhys Rautjoki, Awatea Mita, Eruera “Bob” Mita, Hepi Mita, Alanis Obomsawin, Jesse Wente, C.M. Kaliko Baker, Tammi Haili’opua Baker, Heather Rae, Bird Runningwater, Andrew Okpeaha MacLean, Sterlin Harjo, Pauline Clague, Blackhorse Lowe, Taika Waititi
In English, Maori
95 minutes

An open letter to Aotearoa from Takatāpui and LGBTIQ whānau

Dear Aotearoa,

We write this letter to voice our profound concern at the hatred and abusive bullying that continues to be targeted at Takatāpui and LGBTIQ people in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Over the past few months we have seen continued homophobic and transphobic attacks upon our communities. We should not have to, and will not, tolerate such abuse.

We ask those that live on these lands to stand with us against all oppression that is targeted at people who do not conform to outdated views of sexuality and gender identity. We ask that you do not tolerate hatred in any form and to speak up when you see and hear it.

We ask you to remember we are your mokopuna, grandchildren, tupuna, grandparents, whaea, papa, mothers, fathers, tuakana, teina, tuahine, tungane, sisters, brothers, cousins, whanaunga, friends, colleagues, neighbours.

We wish to speak now to Takatāpui and LGBTIQ people who, like us, live with the homophobic and transphobic comments that are made by people who want to do us harm. In signing this letter we are voicing our aroha for you all, for us all.

We stand visibly so that you all know that we are here. So that those rangatahi and young people who are looking to see people who will stand up for Takatāpui and LGBTIQ rights know that we are here.

We stand visibly so that those who may be struggling with issues of acceptance know that we are here. That we are Takatāpui and LGBTIQ. That you are not alone. That being Takatāpui and LGBTIQ is something that is beautiful, strong, political, cultural, social, fun, loving, caring, intelligent, sacred, honoured, and powerful.

We stand visibly so that you see that we are from all over the country, that we are from all cultures and ethnic groups, that we do all kinds of work and that we are everywhere.

We are visible so you see us and so that you know we are here and we will speak back to all that continue to perpetrate pain and trauma on Takatāpui and LGBTIQ people because of who we are and who we choose to live our lives with as lovers and partners.

Being visible at a time when there is an increase in homophobia and transphobia is an important stand to take by those that can take such a stand.

One of the key aims of such abusive bullying is to silence those who are victimised by the impact of the hatred. But we will not be silenced. Nor will we let such views go unanswered.

If we are to make this country safe for Takatāpui and LGBTIQ people and their whānau then we must say no to homophobia and transphobia, and we must do it now.

Ngā manaakitanga,

1. Associate Professor Leonie Pihama, Te Ātiawa, Ngāti Māhanga, Ngā Māhanga a Tairi, Director, Te Kotahi Research Institute
2. Dr Alison Green, Ngāti Awa, Ngāti Ranginui, CEO Te Whaariki Takapou
3. Dr Elizabeth Kerekere, Whānau a Kai, Ngāti Oneone, Te Aitanga a Mahaki. Rongowhakaata, Ngāi Tāmanuhiri, Founder/Chair, Tiwhanawhana Trust
4. Usufonoimanū Pesetā Betty Siō
5. Annette Sykes, Ngati Pikiao Ngati Makino, Te Arawa, Activist Lawyer
6. Julia Whaipooti, Ngāti Porou, Senior Advisor, Office of the Children’s Commissioner
7. Dr Tawhanga Nopera, Te Arawa, Ngāti Tūwharetoa
8. Sharon Hawke, Ngāti Whatua
9. Maree Sheehan, Ngāti Maniapoto-Waikato, Ngāti Tuwharetoa, Musician/Composer
10. Associate Professor Mera Penehira, Ngāti Raukawa, Rangitāne, Ngai Te Rangi, Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi
11. Phylesha Brown-Acton, Director, F’INE Pasifika Aotearoa
12. Te Ringahuia Hata, He uri nā Te Whakatōhea, Tūhoe, Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Te Whānau-ā-Apanui
13. Renae Maihi, Filmmaker
14. Gina Cole, Writer
15. Laura O’Connell Rapira, Te Ātiawa, Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Whakaue, Te Rarawa, Director of ActionStation
16. Joel Walsham, Artist
17. Frankie Hill – Musician and small business owner
18. Kristin Smith, Co-director Kūwaha Ltd
19. Lexie Matheson ONZM, Academic Equity Leader, AUT University
20. Sarah Jane Parton, postgraduate student, Victoria University. Tongareva (Cook Islands), Tahiti
21. Scout Barbour-Evans, parent, student and youth worker, Ngāti Kahungunu ki te Wairoa and Ngāti Porou
22. Geraint Scott, Train Driver
23. Sally Dellow, Senior Scientist Engineering Geology
24. Manisha Morar, student, Tauiwi
25. Emilie Rākete, Ngāpuhi and Te Rarawa. Postgraduate student and community organiser
26. Kendra Cox. Te Ure o Uenukukōpako, Te Whakatōhea, Ngai Tūhoe, Ngāti Porou. Community organiser and social work student
27. Sandy Hildebrandt, BA, BSc, PGDipSci – Environmental Management
28. Kate McIntyre, community organiser
29. Merran Lawler, Kaiarahi, Te Kupenga Whakaoti Mahi Patunga/National Network of Stopping Violence Services
30. Chaz Harris and Adam Reynolds, co-founders of Promised Land Tales
31. Aatir Zaidi, Chairperson EquAsian
32. Kassie Hartendorp, Ngāti Raukawa, ActionStation and Tīwhanawhana Trust
33. Whetū Bennett, Te Ātiawa, Ngāti Hāu, Tainui
34. Fetū-o-le-moana Teuila Tamapeau, Makefu (Niuē) , Fagaloa (Sāmoa), Content Publisher Auckland Council and Freelance Digital Moana Navigator
35. Henry Laws, community organiser
36. Tabby Besley, Managing Director InsideOUT
37. Toni Duder, Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Kahu and RainbowYOUTH
38. Morgan Butler, Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Tainui and Te Rarawa
39. Anne Waapu, Rongomaiwahine, Ngāti Kahungunu, Te Ātihaunui a Pāpārangi
40. Nishhza Thiruselvam, Eelam Tamil, postgraduate student, community organiser, Tauiwi
41. Hans Landon-Lane, Performer & Communications Advisor
42. Jack Byrne, human rights researcher, TransAction
43. Will Hansen, history postgraduate student and Lesbian and Gay Archives of NZ trustee
44. Bell Murphy, Feminist Self Defence Teacher and PhD Candidate in Gender Studies
45. Kay Jones, Independent Contractor, Facilitator Wellington Bisexual Women’s Group
46. Angelo Libeau, Crisis Support Worker & Development Coordinator – Rape Crisis Dunedin
47. Max Tweedie, New Zealand AIDS Foundation
48. Tommy Hamilton – re.frame project collaborator
49. Stace Robertson, All of Us Project + re.frame
50. Anya Satyanand, The Prince’s Trust New Zealand
51. Nicole Skews-Poole, activist and campaigner
52. Robyn Vella Facilitator Auckland
53. Sam Sutherland, Computer Analyst
54. Philip Wills (Kāi Tahu), Student
55. Bronte Perry, Technician
56. Val Smith, Educator and Artist
57. Christian Rika, Digital media specialist, Ngāpuhi me Ngāti Porou
58. Associate Professor Dr. Taima Moeke-Pickering, Ngati Pukeko/Ngai Tuhoe, Laurentian University, Sudbury, Ontario, Canada.
59. Murphy, Journalist
60. Dr Clive Aspin, Ngāti Maru, Suicide Mortality Review Committee
61. Matai Smith, Rongowhakaata, Ngai Taamanuhiri, Ngāti Kahungunu, Broadcaster
62. Steve Lovett, Elam School of Fine Arts
63. Elizabeth Wiltshire, Cross-Agency Rainbow Network
64.Dr Keri Lawson-Te Aho, Lecturer/Researcher, University of Otago, Wellington School of Medicine, ​ Ngāti Kahungunu; Rongomaiwāhine, Rongowhakaata; Ngāi Tāhu; Ngāti Manawa; Ngāi Tūhoe; Ngāti Pahauwera; Ngāti Irakehu, Ngāi Tarewa, Samoan, Tahitian
65. Ricardo Menéndez March, Auckland Action Against Poverty Coordinator
66.Dr Huhana Hickey MNZM MInstD, Crown director, consultant and advocate, Tainui (Ngati Tahinga),Whakatohea
67. Matt Jackson, HR Manager
68. Te Miha Ua, Ngāti Te Kanawa, Ngāti Uenukukopako, Ngāti Rangiteaorere, Ngāti Rakaiwhakairi, Wairarapa Moana Hapū, Te Runanga o Awarua, Ph.D Candidate and Public Servant
69. Peter R F Thomas, Te Rarawa and Ngāpuhi
70. Eriata D Peri, Te Mahirehure
71. Laura
Dr Donna Campbell. Ngāpuhi and Ngati Ruanui, Senior Lecturer, University of Waikato
72. Dr. A.W. Peet, NZ citizen, Professor of Physics, University of Toronto
73.Riki Anderson Ngāti Kahungunu ki Tamatea, Ngāti Marau, Lead Te Atakura Coach, Te Pae Mātauranga ki te Ao
74. Wetini Paul, Community Based Researcher, Te Whāriki Takapou, Ngāti Awa, Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Ngāi Te Rangi, Ngāti Pikiao, Ngāi Tūhoe
75. Dr Lynne Russell, Kāi Tahu, Ngāti Kahungunu, Senior Research Fellow, Victoria University of Wellington
76. Samantha Higgs, Early Intervention Teacher, B.Ed, Dip. Tchg. ECE, Grad Dip. Ed Psych, Grad Dip. Early Intervention, Pākehā/Tauiwi
77. Creek Waddington, Ngāti Pākehā /Tauiwi (Irish, mostly), radio presenter with Quilted Bananas collective
78. Suzi Paige MBA, Operations Manager and Entrepreneur
79. Zoë Elizabeth Hayes, Ngāti Uoneone, Ngāti Tautahi, Ngāpuhi, Funding and Resource Coordinator at Rape Crisis Dunedin
80. Associate Professor Terryann Clark, Ngāpuhi, University of Auckland
81. Lex Davis, Te Rarawa, Trustee Kauhkura Charitable Trust
82. Dr Nathaniel Thomas Swire, Medical Practitioner

We thank all who have added their names to this letter since publication. We have closed that option now given the time that it takes to continue to update however please make yourselves and your support visible in ways that work for you and share the letter with those in your whānau, communities, networks.
Ngā manaakitanga.

Wild West festival denigrates Indigenous Peoples

Press Release: Te Wharepora Hou, Māori Women’s Network

Contacts for comment:
Tina Ngata
Mera Penehira
Tia Taurere

The promotion of a Wild West Festival in Waimamaku has raised the ire of many in terms of cultural appropriation and racist portrayals of Native American people and culture.

Tina Ngata who has been a consistent voice in regards to issues of cultural mis-appropriation notes that “The American West was not “Wild” to anyone but the colonial invaders – who then attempted to settle it by means of genocide, including bounties for Native American scalps, mass displacement, forced marches, massacres, the theft of Native American children, and purposeful infection. This is not a period to be festive about at all, and there is literally no way to hold a “Wild West Festival” without being racist and colonial. From the concept to the costumes, this is a thoroughly offensive, redneck event. “

Promoting the festival over the week, organisers posted images of people in costumes including images enacting shooting Native Americans. pretend Tipi, people in ‘black face’ degrading African Americans and images of people wearing headdresses, alongside a statement calling for people to “visit our reservation”.

For many generations Native American people have been dealing with the impact of the invasion of their lands of which the idea of the ‘Wild West’ is a part. They have been challenging these forms of racist representation which denies the genocide of Native American Peoples and the ongoing denigration of Native American women.

Associate Professor Leonie Pihama of Te Kotahi Research Institute considers this as another example of the racism that exists within this country and is expressed daily, she states “this is another example of how insidious and deeply embedded racism is in this country.” Furthermore she notes “the event organisers are promoting and reproducting the demeaning of Native American Peoples and in representing sacred cultural garments as costumes and belittling the ways that Native American People live. Saying “visit our reservation” is a disgusting indication that these people have no idea that Native American nations were forcibly removed from their lands and placed onto reservations and today the denial of Treaty rights for many nations continues to impact.”

Associate Professor Mera Penehira who teaches Indigenous Studies at Te Wānanga o Awanuiārangi who also responded directly to the organisation on social media commented today; “this represents an appalling lack of judgement and results in the furthering deeply entrenched racism that has no place in Aotearoa. We need to actively resist and speak out against this! It is not ok!”.

Tia Taurere from Te Taitokerau who lives in Vancouver working with Native communities made the following statement to festival organisers:
Waimamaku Wild West Festival. As a mother of three Native/Maori children, married to a native man and living on Indian land (No te Hokianga!) it is disturbing to see this event disrespecting our Native American/Canadian Turtle Island brothers and sisters. The false portrayal of ‘Injuns’ from Hollywood and Halloween prospering off this sacred culture as a ‘costume’ continues to oppress the indigenous peoples. Indian reservations are not sideshows to come and have fun but often places of poverty and trauma as survivors of genocide. Please do your homework and understand how deeply disrespectful this is to native people!

In an open letter to the festival organisers Tina Ngata made the following comments:

Hey Waimamaku Wild West Festival

I see you have a super colonial shin-dig planned and you’re censoring the comments on your own page. That’s ok we will just share the heck outta your page.

So first of all – the period of time you are commemorating here for your festival is one of genocide. The West coast of Great Turtle Island was not “wild” to the nations who already lived there. It was already occupied and well known. And there were no reservations.

It is called “wild” because the invasions began in the east and the racist, bigoted invaders considered Indigenous people as little more than animals with no rights, which meant the land was, in their eyes unoccupied, awaiting “discovery” and settlement and therefore “WILD”.

The period of time you are referring to as the “Wild West” was one of rampant invasion, land theft, rape, and massacre.

It is the period of the “Trail of Tears” where tens of thousands of Choctaw Cherokee and Seminole after having their lands stolen under the Indian Removal Act, were force-marched by militia to lands thousands of kms away. Thousands and thousands died JUST IN THIS INSTANCE and there were plenty of these instances all over Great Turtle Island.

THAT’S how reservations started. By true landowners being pushed off their territories and forced to live in small plots of land so that settlers could farm their land.

“Come see our Indian reservation”. Good lord.

Other ways settlers “conquered the Wild West” was “Indian scalp bounties” – yep the national and state colonial governments paid the white settlers you are celebrating for the skinned top of a Native American head.

Oh and of course the time honored colonial practices of purposeful infection, and rampant child theft. Even IF you survived the massacres and forced marches thousands of miles from your home, you were often subjected to horrid, infectious conditions, and men would show up to literally take your children from you to places where unspeakable horrors were done to them in under the pretence of making them “less wild”.

That is the “Wild West” you are having your “fest” about. That is the “Indian Reservation” you are promoting here. Honestly by the looks of some of you I don’t think you will care even when you do learn more. I mean… BLACKFACE? Really?

So anyway – go learn some fucking history and quit perpetuating racist stereotypes, Waimamaku. You’re coming across as a bunch of uneducated rednecks. Stop with the warbonnets. Have you even read anything since 1960?

And whānau Māori participating in this… wake TF up you should damn well know better it’s for you to pull this colonial BS up. Shame on you. Gross.

More on this kaupapa by Tina Ngata can be found at :

A day in Twitter-Verse

I have been recovering from a puku illness that worked its way through our whare, beginning with Rangipua, my mokopuna. She shared it freely and without a care in the world as mokopuna do when they are deeply loved. So we sat today and she watched ‘Pipi Mā’ and ‘Dora Te Matatoa’ and I read and dropped occassionally into twitter-verse. The first tweet to catch my attention was from Sandy Grande. It was a powerful Op.Ed providing critical discussion about the looming Thanksgiving Day on Turtle Island titled ‘Don’t Forget Indigenous Struggles On Thanksgiving.

It is somewhat ironic that the next story was of the missionary who deeply embedded in colonising practices was killed trying to forcibly enter Indigenous lands. On TV3 Newshub told us;
“An American missionary has died after trying to preach to a tribe known for its hostility to outsiders”. Interesting terminology “hostility to outsiders” when in fact the Sentinelese are protecting their territory and their people from outside invasion. TVNZ went a step further with their introduction “An American man has been killed by a stone-age tribe” – Seriously “a stone-age tribe” – what kind of imperialist reductionist view does that journalist have to write something that reads like it comes straight from a James Cook journal- yes another invader 250 years ago – who sadly our people did not kill on invasion. Did anyone even consider that he was killed by a nation asserting their sovereign rights as he attempted to invade their lands? No, it is more dramatic to use colonial denigrating phrases than to describe people in ways that are self-determining. Radio NZ gave some hope, introducing their piece “An American self-styled adventurer and Christian missionary has been killed by a tribe on a remote island where he had gone to proselytise, local law enforcement officials say.”

The article further describes the island as home to “what is considered the last pre-Neolithic tribe in the world”. Yes that is bordering on “stone-age” but quickly recovered with the statement that “Mr Chau was killed by members of the Sentinelese community using bows and arrows, according to multiple media accounts.” Yes this is a community of people who are self-determining and sovereign on their own lands and who chose to be so and where the countries nearby respect that decision. I was thankful to Tina Ngata who on her ‘The Non-Plastic Māori’ twitter wrote
“Sentinelese: Making Indigenous territory great again.”

The next thread in Twitter-verse highlighted the many partial or flawed media reports, and responses, to the Auckland Pride Festival Boards decision to not include Police in uniform in the parade. Well, to be entirely honest I was pretty disgusted when they agreed to that a few years ago given the ongoing embedded homophobia, transphobia and racism within both the Police and Corrections. And I have never attended a Pride Parade since.

The issues surrounding the inclusion or otherwise of the Police and Institutions of Incarceration such as Corrections are not new. In 2016 No Pride in Prisons (now People Against Prisons Aotearoa) made a clear statement protesting the inclusion of Corrections staff in uniform when there is clear violence perpetuated against transgender people in prisons.

We should be thankful that there was a group of young activists willing and courageous to stand up to their own community, the Takatāpui and LGBTIQ community, and challenge that decision. They did so at their own personal risk and continue to be a significant voice for the wellbeing of all within Māori, Takatāpui and LGBTIQ communities. As we saw in 2016 the issues raised by No Pride in Prisons led to Corrections being called to task in regards to their failure to deliver.

The systemic racism in the Justice system began with the building of Prisons on stolen whānau, hapū and iwi lands, to incarcerate our people. Māori experience a long line of colonial imposed racist laws in this country, and continued systemic racism across sectors. What continues to concern me is the dramatizing of the issue by the media in ways that construct the Police as an Institution as the victims of exclusion. The Police are not victims. Our people are the victims of racist systemic oppression. The Police are not victims. Our people are the victims of homophobic, transphobic oppression.

For clarity of the Auckland Pride Board position I include here their recent press release
“The Auckland Pride Board remains committed to creating a space for our rainbow communities to feel safe celebrating their gender and sexual identity, despite some institutions pulling out from the Parade in recent days.
“The 2019 Auckland Pride Parade was always intended to be a place to cultivate our roots in activism and protest. We have always welcomed business groups and institutions who wish to participate in a way that works for the safety of all members of our Rainbow community”, says Cissy Rock, Auckland Pride Board Chair.
“The Auckland Pride Board remains committed to delivering an event that places the visibility and safety of our Rainbow community at the forefront, while ensuring every organisation that wishes to participate works proactively with the Board to meet those standards.
“Unfortunately, institutions such as the Police were not able to compromise with the Pride Board despite months of consultation with the community that highlighted more work needed to be done in order for participants to feel safe with the Police’s presence in the parade.
“The Pride Parade is so much more than its corporate sponsors or Government institutions. It is about our Rainbow community coming together to both celebrate and fight for a future where everyone is free from systemic discrimination.
“We remain open to finding common ground with institutions that are working towards ensuring they are truly Rainbow inclusive, but have yet to get to that point. True allyship by institutions to our community is listening to its affected members and compromising where possible. If members from our community are highlighting concerns around discrimination by those institutions, we expect them to work to address them, and that may include making compromises regarding their participation at the Pride Parade.
“We will resume our work towards creating a Pride Parade and Festival as soon as we come to an agreement with our members about the way to move forward at the upcoming special general meeting.”

I ended today with some sadness, in Twitter-verse, reading this poem by Laura O’connell Rapira, and I share it here with her permission.

Who do you call
When the people paid to keep your brown body safe
Make you feel erased
Because they love their uniform
More than they love you
What do you do
When you’re afraid
And the newspapers say
You’re a muppet
A lunatic
This is what inclusion looks like, idiot
Go back to your fringe
What do you do
When your brown skin gets you arrested
And put in prison more often
By people in blue uniforms
But blue uniforms are considered
More important
Than brown bodies
Your phone company thinks so too
So does your bank
So do the people on Facebook and Twitter
Look, there’s a rainbow car coming It says ‘Safer Communities Together’
Maybe they can help us?
Oh, they drove past
I guess there’s no room for bruised brown bodies
In the rainbow

To those corporate sponsors that have chosen to remove their support based on a misguided notion of what constitutes inclusion, diversity and exclusion. Lets be clear, it is not for corporate entities or their representatives to define for us what inclusion means, nor is it for the Police to cry victim or foul when they have failed to make substantial systemic changes to protect our people from racism, homophobia and transphobia. To assume such a position merely reinforces the position taken by the Auckland Pride Board, that such Institutions continue to only make superficial changes that serve their interests. The Police are not victims. The Police are not being excluded. They are being asked to up their performance in regards to the Takatāpui and LGBTIQ community. And they have failed to do so. Painting a rainbow on a car does not make that a different kind of Police diversity car, it is still a car that Takatāpui and LGBTIQ are placed into for arrest. Just like painting koru and the word “Pirihimana” on a Police car does not make it a ‘Māori-friendly’ car, it remains a Police Car. As I hashtagged tonight on my final tweet this day in Twitter-verse #OnceAPoliceCarAlwaysAPoliceCar.

I remember Pride when it was in its earlier form from 1992 as the Hero Parade. It was about community. We went on those early parades to take a place for ‘Wahine mō ngā wahine o Te Moana nui a Kiwa’ and for ‘Lesbian Mothers’. We marched with twin sons in a pram and then with all three of my eldest tamariki. I remember my tamariki as they grew up standing on step-ladders in Ponsonby Road so they could see friends and whānau on the parade. And then reading letters in the newspaper the day after about “those people” that take children to a parade of “obscenities” and thinking “oh that’s us, those are our children.” Where it is great to have financial support it should never be tied to giving away the fundamental reason for why the Pride Parade exists, to celebrate ourselves as Takatāpui, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Intersex, Transgender, Queer and our whānau, friends and colleagues that support us fully.

Te Toka Tūmoana: Supporting the Navigation of Indigenous Wellbeing in Colonised Waters

Presentation to IUSTI Asia Pacific Sexual Health Congress 2018, Tāmaki Mākaurau

The term Te Toka Tūmoana is one that is used widely by Māori in reference to Māori leadership. It is referred to in hapū and iwi mōteatea, traditional chants, pūrākau, our cultural forms of storytelling and storywork, whakataukī, our proverbial sayings. In the report Ngā Toka Tū Moana the authors write:
“The metaphor of “he toka tū moana” has come from the heritage of the people. It is not a new metaphor, but it is an old one to bring forward and apply to the leaders of the future. The strong leaders of iwi were described this way. Ko rātou ngā toka tū moana. Ka ākina rātou e ngā ngaru o te moana. Ka ākina e te tai, ka ākina e ngā hau. Engari ahakoa pēhea ka tū tonu, ka tū tonu. They are the rocks standing in the sea. They are bashed by the waves of the ocean. They are dashed by the tide. They are struck by the winds. But no matter what hits them, they stand and they stand. (p.56)”

In the health sector, including the Sexual and reproductive health sector the role of Māori leadership is essential but is more often than not it is ignored, marginalized, not consulted or consulted rather than engaged in meaningful ways, underfunded and under-resourced, or is denied, rejected.

This may not be the story that many people wish to hear, but it is a story that must continue to be voiced. This is an position that has been embedded across many sectors and is has been a part of approaches taken by successive governments.

We know that the evidence is clear that health disparities experiences by Māori in the health sector and across all domains of life continue to impact significantly on the lives of whānau, hapū, iwi both individually and collectively. There are many statistics in the sector that indicate this is the case. This is also the case for many Indigenous and People of Colour globally, including our relations from Te Moana nui a kiwa, the great ocean of Kiwa, the Pacific ocean.

For generations the stories of how we have come to this context have been made invisible, and continue to be invisibilised in our education system across the country. Not knowing our histories means, as a colleague Rihi Te Nana has stressed to us continually in our work “that we do not know our own backstory”. To every individual and collective story, there are many back stories. Few people, I would assert, know the stories of the Indigenous nations upon which they live, walk and work every day, and just as few will know the history of People of Colour, of takatāpui, two-spirit, queer or lgbtiq communities. That is certainly the case here in Aotearoa.

And even those that may know something or consider themselves ‘experts’ about gender identity, sexual identity or sexual and reproductive health, or the histories of oppressions and struggles for takatāpui, two-spirit or LGBTIQ in a mainstream heteronormative context often fail to incorporate an analysis of the intersection of colonization, of Indigenous dispossession, or of capitalist imposed class systems. These tend to be untold stories. This is also the experience of many Indigenous Peoples in this room.

Why… you may ask is this important?

I want to tell you a very small part of our story. I am from Taranaki. From Waitara. The place of the first colonial invasion wars. Some of you will know the history of Taranaki, but many of you will not. It is a history that is rarely spoken of outside of Māori contexts and is not required to be taught in our conventional western schooling system. Both the invasion of Parihaka and the attacks on hapū and iwi in Waitara were deliberate act of colonial aggression and oppression of our people. The following excerpts from the Waitangi Tribunal reports gives us a glimpse into the violence of that time.
On 5 November 1881, the militia and volunteers arrived at the gates of the undefended settlement. Although a colonel was nominally in command, the force was led by the Native Minister, mounted on a white charger. The troops were equipped with artillery and had been ordered to shoot at the slightest hint of resistance. Mounted on a nearby hill and trained on the village was a six-pounder Armstrong gun. (p.236)

When the cavalry approached, there were only two lines of defence; the first, a chorus of 200 boys, the second, a chanting of girls. On Te Whiti’s clear orders, there was no recourse to arms, despite the rape of women, theft of heirlooms and household property, burning of homes and crops, taking of stock, and forced transportations that ensued. There was no resistance again when Tohu and Te Whiti were imprisoned and charged with sedition. (p.8)

The impact of the Pāhua (the invasion of Parihaka), is one example of the impact of Historical Trauma events intergenerationally upon our people. The violence of such events is remembered in our whānau, hapū, iwi and communities. Recent research provides some understanding of the intense pain suffered by and remembered intergenerationally by our people, for example,
This old kuia used to when this particular men, used to go past, she would see them she would go ‘nasty’ men, he was a nasty man and he would walk back, nasty, I didn’t then what that meant, but they were the soldiers. Look at them ‘nasty men’ and come back with the Pākehā diseases, it was either syphilis, gonorrhea that type of diseases and that why, there were called the ‘nasty diseases’ because the wahine got it. (Reinfeld, Pihama & Cameron, 2015, p.43)

These forms of colonial and intergenerational impacts are the consequence of the invasion of our territories (Wirihana & Smith 2014; Pihama 2014). Historical trauma as an impact of colonization has for over 200 years included the dispossession and theft of Māori land and resources; the subjugation of Māori knowledges and practices; and the imposition of colonial, western knowledge ways of being, knowledge, systems and structures upon Māori whānau, hapū, iwi and communities.

The marginalization of mātauranga Māori and Indigenous knowledges continues today. Across Aotearoa, Australia and the Pacific, Western systems and structures of health, including sexual and reproductive health continue to foster, maintain and reproduce 21st century colonialism. Programmes implemented here continue to deny the history of violence that underpins the extremely high rates of Family violence and Sexual violence in this country. The denial of such history can be described as selective amnesia. It is an act of erasure. It serves to deny the role of both colonization and successive colonial governments in the reproduction of violence, and as such reinforces the deficit, colonial views of Māori people.

Despite a host of international rights instruments and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous peoples, Aotearoa, Australia and the United States governments and aid and development NGOs continue to traffic discourses of Western superiority – the representation of Indigenous peoples as ‘problem’ and ‘risk’, as incapable of making good choices, as living chaotic and unplanned lives, as peoples without knowledges and values, and as beholden recipients of sexual and reproductive health aid and development funds.

I want to speak of two contemporary examples of this in Aotearoa.

Firstly, In 2011 I was asked to contribute to review by the Families Commission related to a request by the then Minister of Social Development into ‘Teen Pregnancy” and what she referred to as “Repeat Teen Pregnancy”.It became quickly evident clear that most of literature maintained the notion that Teen pregnancy in Aotearoa is a ‘problem’, and that Māori young people in particular are ‘the’ problem.

In the article titled ‘Teenage Pregnancy: Cause for Concern’ Woodward et al. (2001) provide an overview of teenage pregnancy issues from a sample of 533 participants drawn from the longitudinal Christchurch Health and Development study. Of the 533 participants it is noted that 26% of the sample had been pregnant, and 14% had become parents. The article indicates the impact of teenage pregnancy as follows:
It has been well documented that an early transmission to parenthood has far reaching physical, social and emotional consequences for young women, including an increased risk of antenatal complications and mortality, failure to complete schooling, socio-economic disadvantage, welfare dependence, martial difficulties, maternal depression, and less competent parenting. (Woodward et al., 2001, p. 3)

A particular issue in regards to the Woodward et al. (2001) study is the level of Māori participation. Contact with the authors noted that there were 61 Māori participants amongst the 533 women. Of these numbers, 30 became pregnant and 23 became parents. However, the age range for these statistics is 17-21 years with no indication by the authors of how many participants were actually teenagers (17-19 years old) at the time of their pregnancy.

The authors state that using statistical trend analyses, ‘Māori ethnicity’ was found to be a ‘risk factor’ in itself in increasing the likelihood of early pregnancy and to becoming a teen parent, yet they then follow with the statement, however, that “these trends failed to reach statistical significance” (Woodward et al., 2001, p. 7). Yet, in spite of such key issues and a clear lack in the research, Woodward et al. (2001) make broad generalised statements that early 
pregnancy rates are elevated amongst those whom identify as Māori.

What is clear from such a small sample size, and the fact that the participants are drawn from one specific geographical area, is that there are methodological issues in regards to statistical validity and generalisability to the Māori population as a whole. Woodward et al. (2001) present a fundamentally ‘deficit’ approach to teenage pregnancy more generally, and to Māori ethnicity specifically. As mentioned earlier, Māori ethnicity is listed as a ‘risk factor’ for teenage pregnancy along with adolescent conduct problems, poor school achievement, and family adversity. Such constructions reproduce the stigmatistion of young Māori parents and whānau (Waetford, 2008).

This is not new and is not restricted to Māori and teen pregnancy rather it highlights the broader pathological discourses that dominate in regards to Māori sexual health, as Nash (2001) states:
The Public Health discourse provides linguistic resources that construct early childbearing as pathological; a pathology that extends to all areas of teenage mothers’ lives. This discourse offers a dominant framework for research in this area and additionally suggests a requirement for public health surveillance and intervention to manage individuals (p. 310).

Māori ethnicity itself is thereby posited as an unfavourable ‘deficit’ variable, in-line with dominant deficit discourse and whilst there is not consideration of the ways in which Māori are systematically and historically positioned in regards to colonization. The focus of our people as ‘deficit’ continues to be privileged across the health sector however our people have articulated for many years that we are not the problem, we are the solution. The risk factors are in fact colonisation and systemic racism and the ways in which they continue to impose oppressive structures upon our people. As Alison Green states,
The representation of Māori as ‘problem’ is more than an imagining. Instead, it has a materiality in the form of how knowledge and power are produced and how these are implemented in the health policy sector. Smith describes problematising indigenous peoples as a Western obsession (1999). The representation of Māori as ‘problem’ justifies the growth of the institutions and instruments involved in the surveillance, the management, and the control of Māori sexual and reproductive health. (Green, 2011; p.38)

Nash (2001) states that this contributes to the construction of key barriers in regards to research and discussions related to Māori including:
(i) the privilege given to forms of statistical explanation that favour a positivist over a hermeneutic account, embedded in the practical-theoretical “at risk” concept; (ii) the preference for behaviourist and reductionist models that isolate behaviour from its social context; and (iii) the support given to an authoritative concept of culture that inhibits recognition of actual and lived cultural practices. (p. 202)

Breheny and Stephens (2010) critique the construction of ethnicity within research related to teenage pregnancy. They highlight that Māori ethnicity has been presented as deficient thereby “affording a way of indicating culture as problematic (p. 313)”.

Data related to the sexual health of Māori including teen pregnancy is regularly compared to that of Pakeha, with the assumption that Pakeha experiences are the ‘norm’ or standard against which other ethnic groups are to be benchmarked.
In contrast to the limitations of much of the existing ‘scientific’ medical research, the work undertaken by Mantell, Craig, Stewart, Ekeroma, and Mitchell (2004) examining pregnancy outcomes for Māori women highlights some key findings in regards to Māori and teenage pregnancy. As part of a broader study of ethnicity and birth outcomes, Mantell et al. (2004) explore trends for over 65,000 live Māori singleton births during the period of 1996-2001. Their data focuses on three key areas, (i) age of childbearing; (ii) the effect of young motherhood on birth outcomes and (iii) prevalence of small babies – both preterm and small for gestational age (SGA). The research challenges some of the fundamental assumptions made about Māori teen parents, and in particular, Māori teenage mothers. Mantell et al. (2004) state that
Teenage pregnancy is not a risk factor for adverse outcomes for Māori women once socioeconomic status has been taken into account. For both preterm birth (OR 1.05) and small for gestational age (OR 1.00), teenage pregnancy appears to confer no additional risk when compared to women 30- 34. (Mantell et al. 2004, p. 538)

Rawiri (2007) investigated the role of social support in helping adolescent Māori mothers cope with pregnancy, birth and motherhood. It highlights the importance of social support and the continuation of education noting that by combining the efforts of positive social networks and social support, services can improve the lives of adolescent Māori mothers and their children. Importantly, the study notes the impact of colonization and the breakdown of communal whānau living as a significant issue.

Both Mantell and Rawiri provide us with understandings that include collective, historical and cultural understandings from specifically Māori approaches that call for transformative change across micro, meso and macro or systemic levels.

I want to turn now to my 2nd example that relates to Māori and sexual health education, in particular the ACC developed and funded ‘Mates and Dates’ programme.
‘Mates and Dates ‘ is described by ACC as follows:
Mates & Dates is a best practice, multi-year programme designed for NZ secondary school students across years 9-13 to promote safe, healthy and respectful relationships. (ACC, p.3)

The sole reference to Māori in the Educational Resource information in regards to how the programme will work in ‘your school’ states
Mates & Dates supports the National Education Goals (NEG):
NEG 9 – It is culturally appropriate for all and supports success by Māori (p.6)

The initial evaluation by Duncan & Kingi (2015) raised issued about the content of the programme, highlighting the following findings:
When the programme was assessed for its ability to meet best practice in relation to specific groups (i.e. Māori, Pacific peoples, Gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, transgender and intersex (GLBTI), people with disabilities), the following areas for improvement were identified:
• kaupapa Māori best practice is missing from the programme, although some of the principles are implicit 

• there is little acknowledgment of the principles and values of Pacific society, and this needs to be explicitly articulated 

• the needs of people with disabilities were not addressed, specifically the accessibility requirements of deaf students and students on the autism spectrum (p.ii)

Furthermore it was stated:
Kaupapa Māori principles need to be explicitly articulated in course materials. There must be acknowledgement and inclusion of the needs of Pacific participants. The needs of deaf students, students on the autism spectrum and students with other disabilities must also be acknowledged – course design should be improved to enable access, engagement, and learning. Resources need to reflect their audience if they are to resonate and have meaning. (p. v)

One must question how the notion of ‘best practice’ is claimed within the Educational Resource when substantial issues were raised about the programme and where little change is evident. Rather, the only “improvements’ to the programme noted by ACC are as follows:
Subtitles have been added to all films for hearing impaired students.
• Films have been updated to reflect the New Zealand context. 

• Worksheets have been replaced with workbooks for students. 

• All role plays and continuums have been reviewed by a subject matter expert and have also been peer reviewed.
• Certain worksheet based activities have been replaced with discussion based or interactive activities.

Such “improvements” fall far short of any meaningful or substantive changes to the programme and do nothing to deal with the cultural issues raised in regards to the lack of Kaupapa Māori and Pasifika approaches.

The ‘Report on the 2016 Mates & Dates survey’ by Appleton-Dyer, Soupen and Edirisuriya (2016) is equally problematic. The lack of knowledge of the context within Aotearoa is evident throughout the report which raises even more issues in regards to the programme, not least what ACC considers to be acceptable evaluation methodologies and reporting. Where there have been critical issues raised in regards to the programme content and the failure to engage Māori in the sector in terms of the programme development there is no discussion of these issues in the 2016 report.

What is evident in the Appleton-Dyer (2016) report is a lack of cultural and methodological knowledge.The report is constructed in ways that call into question the capacity of ACC to adequately document and evaluate the programme.For example, the discussion of ethnic groups is as follows:

Screen Shot 2018-11-21 at 7.04.19 pm

Anyone who has any knowledge of quantitative research in this country should be appalled at the construction of ‘ethnic differences’ within the report.
What is a non-Māori or a non-Pacific or a non-asian student? How can these groups be constructed in this manner? The term ‘Pākehā’ does not appear anywhere in the report. So does that mean that Pākehā responses are somehow not ‘ethnic’ or not informed by ‘ethnicity’ or ‘culture’. The term NZ European appears once in the report. Just on this fundamental issue in terms of the report we have grounds to be highly skeptical of its contents. So lets look at this finding:
Most students suggested that they would not get angry with their partner if they did not do what they wanted them to do. However, Māori students (n=665) were more likely than non-Māori students (n=2449) to say they would “probably” get angry and yell at their partner/not talk to them if they didn’t do what they wanted them to do:
14% of Māori students said they would probably do this, compared to 8% of non- Māori students. This difference was statistically significant (p=0.000). (p.23)

So who is this difference statistically significant to? Who is non-Māori?
How has non-Māori, non-Pacific, and non-Asian become an ethnic grouping that one can compare to?

The evaluation team, Synergia continue to make the following finding:
What’s working well?
Overall, Mates & Dates is working well. It has improved students’ understanding across all the course content areas. 

Most of the students did not hold stereotyped views and intended to engage in healthy relationships behaviours. 

In more broad terms the programme has been clearly critiqued by a number of key organisations and researchers in the sector. Dr Katie Fitzpatrick states,
We absolutely must invest in relationship, consent and sexuality education in every school and it needs to be delivered by teachers.
It is irresponsible that such a significant sum of money is being used to fund this programme when it is being taught in a way that is inconsistent with effective education practice and education policy.
(NZ Herald August 8, 2018)

Te Whaariki Takapou, A Māori sexual and reproductive health promotion and research organisation, further highlights,
Sexual violence, like so many forms of violence experienced by Māori, will not be reduced by programmes like Mates and Dates. The programme is unconnected to the realities of Māori and fails to draw on the wealth of historical and contemporary Māori knowledges and practices associated with healthy relationships. August 7, 2018

What is required is an evidence-based national plan for culturally appropriate comprehensive sexuality education that includes consent and sexual violence. There are programmes underway in some schools where teachers are already addressing consent and sexual violence as part of comprehensive sexuality education. However, the road block to rolling out a national plan and programmes across all schools, including Māori-medium schools, is the lack of specific policy, funding and the political ‘will’ to lead the charge. August 7, 2018

In closing it is important that IUSTI18 conference think deeply about how you engage with Māori and Indigenous Peoples in this sector, how you consider the historical, colonial and intergenerational trauma that impacts on our communities, how do you all as participants take the opportunity to advocate for the rights of Māori and Indigenous peoples to self-determine our own sexual and reproductive health across research, policy, funding and services in Aotearoa, Australia and the Pacific, and how do you challenge the continued systemic racism that enables agencies and organisations to continue to reproduce the ongoing marginalization and under resourcing of Indigenous initiatives in this sector.

Appleton-Dyer,S. Soupen, A. Edirisuriya, N (2016) Report on the 2016 Mates & Dates survey : Report for the Violence Prevention Portfolio at ACC
Breheny, M. & Stephens, C. (2008). `Breaking the Cycle’ : Constructing intergenerational explanations for disadvantage. Journal of Health Psychology, 13(6), 754-763.
Breheny, M. & Stephens, C. (2010). Youth or disadvantage? The construction of teenage mothers in medical journals. Culture, Health & Sexuality, 12(3), 307-322.
Duncan, Anne and Kingi, Venezia (2015) Evaluation of ACC’s Mates and Dates: School-based Healthy Relationships Primary Prevention Programme. Lighthouse Consulting
Green JA (2011) A Discursive Analysis of Māori in Sexual and Reproductive Health Policy (Masters of Māori and Pacific Development). Hamilton, New Zealand: The University of Waikato.
Luker, K. (1996). Dubious conceptions: The politics of teenage pregnancy. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA.
Mantell, C.D., Craig, E.D., Stewart, A.W., Ekeroma, A.J., & Mitchell, A. (2004). Ethnicity and birth outcome: New Zealand trends 1980-2001: Part 2. Pregnancy outcomes for Māori women. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, 44, 537-540
Nash, R. (2001). Teenage pregnancy: Barriers to an integrated model for policy research. Social Policy Journal of New Zealand, 17, 200-213.
Pihama, L., Te Nana, R., Reynolds, P., Smith, C., Reid, J., Smith, L.T. (2014) Positioning historical trauma theory within Aotearoa New Zealand in AlterNative: An International Journal of Indigenous Peoples, 10(3), 248–262.
Rawiri, C. (2007). Adolescent Māori mothers experiences with social support during pregnancy, birth and motherhood and their participation in education. Master of Social Science thesis, University of Waikato, Hamilton.
Waetford, C. H. (2008). The knowledge, attitudes and behaviour of young Māori women in relation to sexual health: A descriptive qualitative study. Master of Health Science thesis. Auckland University of Technology.
Wirihana, R. & Smith C. (2014) ‘Historical Trauma, Healing and Well-being in Māori Communities’ in MAI Journal, Volume 3, Issue 3.
Woodward, L. J., Horwood, L. J., & Fergusson, D. M. (2001). Teenage pregnancy: Cause for concern. New Zealand Medical Journal, 114(1135), 301-303.

Some Reflections on Māori Women & Women’s Suffrage

Over the past few months we have been inundated with events related to the 125th Anniversary of Women’s Suffrage. In the context where we have Jacinda Adern as Prime Minister who has been pushing many boundaries in that position both politically and personally as a new parent there has been significant celebration of the place of women within politics. I remember similar celebrations of the 100th Anniversary in 1993, with a raft of events, dinners, awards, documentaries and publications. One such publication was ‘Māori Women and The Vote’ by Tania Rei that provided us with a discussion of the role of wāhine Māori in Te Kotahitanga and the involvement of our tūpuna wāhine alongside the Women’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU). As a part of my doctoral work in 2001 I wrote a section that reflected on the involvement of Māori women during the Suffrage movement period. Given the current discussions related to the 125th Suffrage Anniversary I have decided to reproduce a brief section with some additional material and links here.

Tania Rei (1993) explores Māori women’s involvement in gaining voice in Te Kotahitanga and also alongside Pākehā women in the franchise struggle. Te Kotahitanga was a gathering of Māori leaders, both female and male, formed to unite Māori to present grievances to the Crown. Tania notes that it was modelled on the existing colonial settler parliament and electoral districts were defined by tribal boundaries. This was by no means a small gathering, by 1893 21,900 women and men were a part of Te Kotahitanga and by 1895 there were 35,000.

It is clear from documentation that from the inception of Te Kotahitanga Māori women were actively involved. Photographs of Te Kotahitanga hui from the Alexander Turnbull Library show that Māori women’s participation was high, in fact Tania Rei states that reports of the hui identify that equal numbers of women and men were in attendance (Rei, 1993, p.16). It is important to note that the Constitution Act of 1852, that was enacted to embed colonial systems of democracy in Aotearoa, provided voting rights to Pākehā, Māori and ‘half-caste’ men that could show they met the criteria of property ownership. Also the Māori Representation Act 1867 saw the establishment of the original four Māori electoral seats which meant that there were processes in place that saw Māori engaged in the Pākehā political system and which were central to the establishment of Te Kotahitanga as a Māori assembly that could provide collective voice to Māori concerns.

Although Māori women attended Te Kotahitanga in equal numbers to Māori men the impact of colonial gender beliefs, and practices, were already embedded with Māori women at that time being denied the right to vote or stand as members. Just under a year after the official opening of Te Kotahitanga, Meri Te Tai Mangakāhia (Te Rarawa, Ngāti Te Reinga, Ngāti Manawa, Te Kaitutae) put a motion that Māori women be given the right to vote and to stand as member of Te Kotahitanga ( After the initial motion was abandoned, the right for Māori women to vote and stand for Te Kotahitanga was not realised until 1897.

In 1893 Ngā Kōmiti Wāhine were formed as a means by which Māori women could deal with issues confronting Māori women at the time. Ngā Kōmiti Wāhine dealt with key issues related to the well-being of Māori women and whānau including; alcohol, smoking, domestic violence, promiscuity, retention of Māori women’s knowledge etc. Tania Rei notes that Māori women spoke freely about these issues whenever possible. In the publication ‘Te Puni Wāhine’ a copy of the rules of the Tāmairangi Women’s Committee, the Wairarapa branch of Ngā Kōmiti Wāhine, has been reprinted from the Māori newspaper ‘Te Puke Ki Hikurangi’. It is noted in Te Puni Wāhine (1994) “He Kōmiti Wāhine tēnei nō Pāpāwai, marae o Wairarapa. I tapā hei whakamaumahara ki a Tāmairangi, wahine rongonui o tērā takiwā. This is the Women’s Committee from Papawai a marae in the Wairarapa. The name was given in memory of Tāmairangi a renowned woman of that area.” (p.13).

The rules included notions such believing in God; not working on Sundays; not taking alcohol onto marae, except for medicinal purposes, or into other peoples houses; women caring for children and husbands; observing teachings of elders; showing respect for each other; caring for pregnant women and the sick; not being promiscuous; not smoking in meetings; not holding grudges; attending Sunday meetings but not monopolising them; maintaining skills in weaving and cooking; and sharing work. Fines were imposed on those that transgressed the rules.

There are a number of observations that can be made in relation to the rules outlined by the Tāmairangi committee in regard to positioning of how they viewed their roles and obligations both to themselves and in the wider Māori community. A missionary influence is clearly indicated in the idea that work should take place only on the six days and that the seventh day is a day of rest. The influence of christianity in defining gender roles and the development of rules that aligned with christian ideologies, highlights the impact of such ideological assertions within Māori communities. There is also clear indication of some alignment with tikanga Māori within the rules, in particular those related to notions of manaakitanga: caring and providing for each other, whanaungatanga: relationships, hauora: health and wellbeing, mahi tahi; working collectively and collaboratively, mana tangata: fundamental respect for the mana of all people, whare tangata: women as the givers of life and the home of future generations, mātauranga Māori: Māori knowledge, taonga tuku iho: those treasured things tangible and intangible handed to us from our ancestors. Most evident are the strong statements regarding an expected respect for each other, the need to care and provide for each other and an assertion for the wellbeing of Māori.

The consistent references to the use of alcohol can be viewed in the context of increasing alcohol use in Māori communities, one of the many tools of colonisation. Therefore, it is not surprising that Māori women involved themselves in the Women’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) movement. Tania Rei (1993) identifies the objectives of the WCTU as follows;
“This organisation wanted to control the use of alcohol which it believed was the cause of many social and economic problems for women and children. Branches of WCTU were set up from 1884, and from 1886 the organisation lobbied for the parliamentary franchise. By 1890 many members of the WCTU had widened their goals and saw the vote as an issue of justice, an ordinary right that women were entitled to as citizens of the state, as well as a means of achieving far reaching social reforms including equal opportunities in employment and education.” (p.25)

Whilst the exact time of Māori women’s involvement in the WCTU is unknown there were Māori women who had concerns about alcohol abuse joining in the 1870s (Rei 1993). As we know, the WCTU were successful in gaining women the vote for the colonial parliament in 1893.

The debates surrounding suffrage highlight the key ideologies of the time in regard to the position of women in the colonial settler society. They also give us insights into the ways in which some Māori men had also internalised colonial gender ideologies. Māori men were also involved in this process, both for and against women’s suffrage. In 1892 when women’s franchise was before the house it was reported that Eparaima Te Mutu Kapa would fully support the measure and that he believed that it was an injustice to deny women the vote. Hoani Taipua stated that he would not support the move as he did not believe Māori women were sufficiently qualified to exercise the vote. Rāpata Wahawaha spoke on the franchise issue (Rei, 199),
“In his opinion Māori women were nurturers, wavers and cultivators and they had always been excluded from sacred ceremonial duties. He claimed christian doctrine supported his view, women did not preach or take part in the political assemblies of Europeans. ‘It is only in the last few years that the voices of fanatical women have been heard in the streets of Wellington and Gisborne and other places. This has considerably puzzled us. We do not know whether the old rule was the correct one or whether this is the right thing’. He believed that most laws had a ‘sting’ and the vote might bring unforeseen burdens for Māori women. The measure should be delayed until they had been consulted.” (p.32)

The influence of christianity in the positioning of Māori men who spoke against the motion can not be underestimated. However, what is clear from the numbers of Māori women who did vote in 1893 was that Māori women did not view the vote as a right only for Māori men. This too is patently clear in the assertion of Māori women to vote and stand in the Kotahitanga movement.

Where gaining the vote was for those Māori women considered a victory the involvement of Māori women in the WCTU was not completely beneficial. In Ngā Kōmiti Wāhine, Māori women were seeking to retain Māori women’s traditional skills, however, the WCTU expected Māori women to give up certain traditional practices. The Temperance Pledge to be taken by Māori women was worded as follows:
“He whakaae tēnei nāku kia kaua ahau e kai tūpeka, e inu rānei i tētahi mea e haurangi ai te tangata, kia kaua hoki ahau e whakaae ki te tā moko. Mā te Atua ahau e āwhina.
I agree by this pledge, not to smoke tobacco, not to drink any beverages that are intoxicating, and also not to take the tā moko. May God help me.”

The Temperance movement maintained that Māori women should not take moko kauae, which in terms of wider dominant discourses was considered a barbaric act. Tania Rei (1993) notes that one possible reason for Māori women agreeing to such a pledge could have been due to the infections that were experienced from the movement from bone to metal implements in the practice of tāmoko. Whether that was the case is not certain however what was clear is that for those Māori women seeking to be involved in the Temperance and Suffrage movements the practice of moko kauae was expected to be discontinued. It is also documented that moko was often viewed by Pākehā as ‘ugly’ and a ‘savage’ custom (Robley, 1896). In this period the practice of tāmoko was considered a dying practice (Robley, 1896). Grey and Lubbrock (Robley, 1896) respectively wrote that the illustrations gathered by Robley were valuable documentation of an art that was passing away and was an important part of preserving an part of Māori traditions that were disappearing. Such statements are indicative of the view regarding aspects of Māori life that were being intentionally removed or denied to our people through impositions of colonial superiority, of which the WCTU pledge played a part.

Additionally it was highlighted the Election Act required that individuals be freehold property owners in order to vote:
“The 1893 Act stated, in addition to persons aged over 21 years with freehold title to land being able to register to vote,
[e]very person of the age of twenty-one years or upwards who has resided for one year in the colony and in the electoral district for which he claims to vote during the three months immediately preceding the registration of his vote, and is not registered in respect of a freehold or residential qualification for the same or any other district, is entitled (subject to the provisions of this Act) to be registered as an elector and to vote at the election of members for such district for the House of Representatives. (Electoral Act 1893, s 6(2).)
The Act specifically defined “person” as including “a woman,” and furthermore stated “[w]ords and expressions in this Act importing the masculine gender include women, except where otherwise expressly stated.” (Id. s 3.)”

The freehold property requirement mitigated against many Māori generally given the collective land holdings of whānau, hapū and iwi, and that by that time our people had experienced colonial confiscation, the theft of Māori lands and the individualisation of land titles by the colonial government.

As a part of re-membering the place of our tūpuna wāhine in the Suffrage period it is important that we create the space for their voices and their positions to be heard. As such below is the text of the speech given by Mere Mangakāhia in her advocacy for Māori women’s voices to be heard and to be acknowledged in our own right:
E whakamoemiti atu ana ahau kinga honore mema e noho nei, kia ora koutou katoa, ko te take i motini atu ai ahau, ki te Tumuaki Honore, me nga mema honore, ka mahia he ture e tenei whare kia whakamana nga wahine ki te pooti mema mo ratou ki te Paremata Māori.
1. He nui nga wahine o Nui Tireni kua mate a ratou taane, a he whenua karati, papatupu o ratou.
2. He nui nga wahine o Nui Tireni kua mate o ratou matua, kaore o ratou tungane, he karati, he papatupu o ratou.
3. He nui nga wahine mohio o Nui Tireni kei te moe tane, kaore nga tane e mohio ki te whakahaere i o raua whenua.
4. He nui nga wahine kua koroheketia o ratou matua, he wahine mohio, he karati, he papatupu o ratou.
5. He nui nga tane Rangatira o te motu nei kua inoi ki te kuini, mo nga mate e pa ara kia tatou, a kaore tonu tatou i pa ki te ora i runga i ta ratou inoitanga. Na reira ka inoi ahau ki tenei whare kia tu he mema wahine.
Ma tenei pea e tika ai, a tera ka tika ki te tuku inoi nga mema wahine ki te kuini, mo nga mate kua pa nei kia tatou me o tatou whenua, a tera pea e whakaae mai a te kuini ki te inoi a ona hoa Wahine Māori i te mea he wahine ano hoki a te kuini.
English translation:
I exult the honourable members of this gathering. Greetings.
I move this motion before the principle member and all honourable members so that a law may emerge from this parliament allowing women to vote and women to be accepted as members of the parliament.
Following are my reasons for presenting this motion that women may receive the vote and that there be women members:
1. There are many women who have been widowed and own much land.
2. There are many women whose fathers have died and do not have brothers.
3. There are many women who are knowledgeable of the management of land where their husbands are not.
4. There are many women whose fathers are elderly, who are also knowledgeable of the management of land and own land.
5. There have been many male leaders who have petitioned the Queen concerning the many issues that affect us all, however, we have not yet been adequately compensated according to those petitions. Therefore I pray to this gathering that women members be appointed. Perhaps by this course of action we may be satisfied concerning the many issues affecting us and our land.
Perhaps the Queen may listen to the petitions if they are presented by her Māori sisters, since she is a woman as well.

(Source: )

What we know is that our tūpuna wāhine stood with their own mana, and that the struggle against the importation of colonial tools and systems has been something we have been actively engaged in for many generations. To celebrate the 125th Anniversary of the Suffrage movement is not unproblematic for Māori women as it remains a celebration of a struggle for involvement in what is fundamentally an imposed democratic system that continues to work against the interests of our people. What is important is that we reflect more critically not only on the processes by which our people came to vote, but that we look more deeply at how we came to have this system in place in the first place, and who really benefits from its ongoing reproduction.

Published References
Rei, T. (1993) Māori Women and The Vote, Huia Publishers, Wellington
Robley, H.G. (1896) Moko: The Art and History of Mäori Tattooing, Chapman and Hall, London Reprinted 1998 by Senate, Tiger Books International, UK
Te Puni Wāhine (1994) ‘Te Puke Ki Wairarapa’ 26 Äperira 1898 Wharangi 5, Wellington: Huia Publishers