2. The Media…

Moana Maniapoto

On  8 March, on Maori Television, Moana Maniapoto devoted her whole programme (Te Ao with Moana) to interviews with 12 Maori women on the subject, ” Speaking rights on the  Marae”

There were many different views  about women speaking on the marae.  Acknowledgements were given to the late Whaia McClutchie, Merata Mita and Eva Rickard.  Others like Eva’s daughter Angela Greensill, Annette Sykes and Pania Newton have spoken on political occasions.  The panel of four young women, including Kahurangi Milne,  had mixed views.  Dame Naida Glavish, of Ngaaati Whatua ki Kaipara, expressed strongly her view that men’s and women’s roles were complementary, and they shouldn’t compete.  If women wanted to be speakers on marae, she said,  they should also be grave-diggers. 

Moana achieved her goal of a nuanced discussion on this topic.

Donna Awatere Huata

Donna Awatere Huata and Leonie Pihama talked about the Mana Wāhine Claim currently before the Waitangi Tribunal.  Donna is clear that Maori women did speak on marae pre-colonisation. Leonie’s view was that pre-colonisation there was no paepae as such on marae, and women did speak, and continued to do so – eg Iritana Ratana, at Waitara.  She says traditionally male-female roles were seen as complementary, and  the current structures should be decolonised.

Leonie Pihama



Currently the Waitangi Tribunal is hearing  the Māna Wāhine claim lodged in 1973YES,  being heard 48 YEARS LATER!!! (which says rather a lot about the priority NOT given to wāhine Maori by Pākeha institutions, reflecting the inferior position of English women in colonial times in England and all its other colonies, and its structural residue still.)

Both Donna and Leonie were very clear that Maori women have been marginalised in all spheres, and should be resourced to heal the inadequacies of their treatment in health, education, employment and to go forward to the truth of what was promised in Te Tiriti o Waitangi.  They commented that role models  like Margaret Mutu in the Matike Mai movement are vitally important… that there is collective power in Maori womanhood…  that the world is looking for leadership…

When asked about the role of Pākeha women, Leonie said: continue doing what we need to do…challenge ourselves, our whanau…50% of all positions must be held by women…Pākehā women who want to support wāhine Māori in their claims can walk behind and beside Māori women, in their work- but if they are out in front- get out of the way!

On Newshub Live at 6pm on International Women’s Day ?

Absolutely no items about women- Māori or otherwise- except an obsessional account of  Megan and Harry’s forthcoming Oprah interview..and on-going Covid news, of course..

However, on TV1, for International Women’s Day, there was a special film:

“Six Angry Women..”, described as:  ...”a NZ docu-film about the 1984 kidnapping and assault of Auckland university lecturer Mervyn Thompson, who was accused by the women of being a rapist.”

He was never charged, and the women were never identified…but as the film progressed, it became clear that Thompson’s behaviour towards many of his women students was abusive …the film was a very carefully made and gripping story. 



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