As tangata whenua, wāhine Māori hold an important status in Aotearoa and play a key role in whānau, hapū, iwi, and Māori communities as whare tangata and whare mātauranga.
Ka mua, ka muri
Prior to the signing of Te Tiriti, wāhine Māori played a significant role in social, cultural, economic, political and community structures across Aotearoa.
Wāhine Māori held important positions of leadership and authority and were involved in decision-making processes, including those relating to whenua, resources, and their communities. They also played a crucial role in passing on mātauranga Māori and practices to younger generations.
Me aro koe ki te hā o Hine-ahu-one
Loss of rangatiratanga and traditional leadership roles, has resulted in prejudicial outcomes for wāhine Māori across multiple aspects of society. This has led to ongoing and systemic economic discrimination, disparities in health, housing, employment, and education.
Acknowledging this and improving outcomes by upholding the mana of wāhine Māori through effective Treaty partnership, is at the core of our mahi.
Wāhine Māori influence and lead powerful legacy movements that have changed, and continue to change, the face of mainstream society in Aotearoa and beyond.
Whaia te iti kahurangi ki te tuohu koe me he maunga teitei, ki nga whetu rawa
Such legacies include:
- The Mana Wāhine Kaupapa Inquiry into the discrimination and inequality faced by wāhine Māori in Aotearoa.
- Judge Sarah Reeves: In 2010, Reeves became the first Māori woman appointed as a Māori Land Court Judge, breaking barriers and paving the way for future generations of wāhine Māori in the legal profession.
- Dame Whina Cooper: Cooper led the 1975 Land March, a protest against the continued loss of Māori land, which raised awareness of Māori issues and helped to push for change, including the establishment of the Waitangi Tribunal.
- Titewhai Harawira: Harawira was a central figure in Ngā Tamatoa in the 1970s, contributing to the revitalisation of Te Reo and the establishment of immersive Kōhanga Reo and Kura Kaupapa, and has been a leader in advocating for Māori rights and representation.
- Te Puea Hērangi: Hērangi was a prominent leader in the Māori King Movement and founded the Tūrangawaewae marae in 1914, which has become the spiritual and cultural center of the King Movement. She also played a vital role in establishing the Māori Women's Welfare League in 1951, which aimed to improve the social and economic conditions of Māori women and their whānau.
- Meri Te Tai Mangakāhia: In 1893, Mangakāhia gave a groundbreaking speech at Kotahitanga Parliament advocating for women's right to vote and participate in political decision-making. This speech preceded the 1893 Suffrage Petition and the passing of the Electoral Act 1893 that enshrined in law the right for women to vote. Mangakāhia is recorded as the first woman to speak in any New Zealand parliament.
Ā mātou whakatakoto whāinga
We prioritise improved outcomes for wāhine and kōtiro Māori through our strategic outcomes and across our work programme. We are committed to the prosperity and wellbeing of mana wāhine across all spheres of life.
We support the Crown in building enduring relationships with Māori under te Tiriti o Waitangi. We do this through working collaboratively with wāhine Māori, and by adopting indigenous ways of thinking.
Our current mahi to improve outcomes for wāhine Māori:
- Supporting Wai 2700 - the Mana Wāhine Kaupapa Inquiry.
- Implementing Te Mahere Whai Mahi Wāhine Women’s Employment Action Plan to support and improve access to training and employment opportunities for wāhine Māori. We are committed to working with wāhine Māori on the best ways we can support their prosperity and success.
- Working to close gender and ethnic pay gaps, address pay equity, and implement pay transparency.
- Putting more wāhine Māori for leadership roles through our Nominations Service.
- Contributing to implementing Te Aorerekura, the National Strategy to Eliminate Family Violence and Sexual Violence and leading Wāhine Māori leadership succession.
- Collating the Wāhine Māori data stocktake of current government data sources relevant to wāhine Māori across ten kaupapa.
- Ensuring the voices and values of wāhine Māori are represented and reflected at a global level as part of our international engagements concerning the rights of wāhine and kōtiro.