Wāhine | Ngā Wāhine Māori
Beyond the 'dusky maiden' | Ki tua o te ‘puhi kiri rauwhero'
Ki konei tātou whakamihi ai, whakanui ai i te mana o ngā wāhine Māori – mai i ngā atua wahine i ngā kōrero a te Māori mō te orokohanga ake o te ao ki ngā tīpuna wahine i whai wāhi nui ki tō tātou oranga – taha tinana, taha tikanga, taha ahurea. Ka horahia hoki ngā kōrero o ētahi wāhine Māori o ēnei rā e hāpai tonu ana i ngā taonga, e kawe tonu ana i ngā mahi whakahirahira a ērā kua riro ki te pō.
Ko tēnei mea te mana, he kaha, he awe i homai e ngā atua. Ā, ko te mana wahine, he mana ka noho motuhake mai ki te wahine, i ahu mai i a Papatūānuku me ērā atu atua wahine pērā i a Hineahuone, i a Hinetītama/Hinenuitepō, i a Hineteiwaiwa, i a wai atu, i a wai atu o te ao tūroa.
Stephanie Gardiner, Taryn Beri applying tā moko at Hongoeka Marae. Private collection.
He nui ngā mātauranga, ngā kōrero mō te wahine me āna kawenga hira i te ao Māori kua wareware, kua hunaia, kua wahangūtia rānei. Engari, nā roto i ngā mahi whakatupu mātauranga, ngā mahi toi, me ngā whawhai, kua tāoro anō ētahi o ngā kōrero mō te mana wahine.
Ko tētahi titiro whāiti o mua e tino hiahia ana mātou ki te turaki, ko te kīia o te wahine Māori he ‘puhi kiri rauwhero’, he hūmārie, he mōwai tōna āhua. Koia i aro ai tēnei whakaaturanga ki te whakatauira i ngā okenga nui, i ngā mahinga huhua a ngāi wāhine Māori, mai rā anō, tae noa mai ki ēnei rā.
Kua mahia anō hoki e Ngā Taonga Sound and Vision ētahi kiriata hei tautoko i te whakaaturanga nei, tae atu ki ētahi mō Donna Awatere Huata rātou ko Merata Mita, ko Tuaiwa Rickard, ko Whina Cooper. Taihoa ka pānuitia e te Whare Pukapuka ētahi atu kaupapa e kōpūtahi ana me tēnei.
Nā Ariana Tikao me Catherine Bisley
Ngā ringa whakatū i te whakaaturanga
Young Maori women tending forestry seedlings, ca 1940s. Ref: PAColl-8983-64.
This exhibition acknowledges and celebrates the mana of Māori women — from the female deities in Māori origin stories, to the tīpuna wahine who played pivotal roles in our physical and cultural survival. It also tells the stories of some contemporary Māori women who continue the legacy of those who have gone before.
Mana is the status or spiritual power that comes from the atua (gods). Mana wahine is a power that is particular to women and derives from Papatūānuku, the earth mother, and other female atua associated with the natural world.
Much of the knowledge surrounding Māori women and their integral roles within te ao Māori has at times been forgotten or silenced, but recently through scholarship, art, and activism, some of this knowledge has resurfaced.
Pounamu Tipiwai-Chambers, Pounamu and friend in the water at Aitutaki. Private collection.
This exhibition counters the passive and limiting ‘dusky maiden’ stereotype of the past by highlighting stories of dynamic and strong Māori women from earliest times to the present day.
As part of this exhibition, Ngā Taonga Sound and Vision will be holding screenings, including films about Donna Awatere Huata, Merata Mita, Eva Rickard and Whina Cooper.
We'll be announcing more exhibition events soon.
Nau mai ki te ao o te wahine!
Ariana Tikao & Catherine Bisley
Once Were Warriors production still showing Beth Heke, 1993. Ref: PA1-q-1172-17-2-RA58/13.
From the collections: Mana wahine
Ngā Taonga are hosting screenings in association with this exhibition.
June 7, 14, 22: Tuaiwa Hautai Rickard
June 8: Whina: Whaea o te Motu
June 9, 15, 23: Merata — Making Waves
June 16: In The Blood — Donna Awatere Huata
Feature image: William Strutt, Maori girls shooting the waves, ca 1855. Ref: E-453-f-004.