Awa Wahine is a digital and sometimes physical pop-up space for wāhine to share their kōrero. To learn more about our vision and how you can tautoko us read here.
If you have writing or art you would like to contribute then check out our submissions page here. To advertise on Awa Wahine contact Ataria at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ataria Rangipikitia Sharman (Ngāpuhi, Tapuika)
Ataria Rangipikitia Sharman (Ngāpuhi, Tapuika) is the creator of www.awawahine.com, a digital and sometimes physical pop-up space for wāhine to share their writing - unfiltered. She is an event curator for Verb Wellington 2019 and her manuscript for young adults fiction novel 'Hine and Hineteiwaiwa' was selected to take part in Te Papa Tupu 2018; a program for selected Maori writers facilitated by Huia Publishers and the Maori Literature Trust. Earlier on this year, Ataria handed in her Masters of Arts in Māori Studies thesis titled 'Mana Wahine and the Characteristics of our Atua Wāhine.' She is based in Whangarei, Te Tai Tokerau.
Awa Wahine was conceived, when Ataria realised that there was nowhere for her writing to be published because it touched upon themes of mana wahine, menstruation, sexual relationships and contraception:
“The name comes from Ngahuia Murphy's thesis on pre-colonial Māori women's menstruation, where Te Awa Wahine is another name for menstruation - Alongside Te Awa Atua and Te Awa Tapu. I believe Awa Wahine holds meaning for wāhine coming together to share their own strands of thought in a collective river of creativity.”
Irihipeti Waretini (Ngāti Rangi)
Irihipeti is our mama with many hats and supports Ataria in reaching, empowering and creating pathways for as many women as possible. Bringing years of marketing, business and design experience to Awa Wahine, Irihipeti creates content, delivers our social media strategies, has renewed our website and branding and manages everything else that comes her way.
“Awa Wahine is a platform that really resonates with my thoughts and feelings and while writing is a foundational tool in my kete, that I'm grateful to be sharing with the collective, I am so excited to be an integral part of the team to amplify the voices of women, especially indigenous women.”
Ataria’s blog post “Aroha Mai, Aroha Atu” was what first drew Irihipeti to Awa Wahine, resonating loudly with the whakaaro she aspires to live by, love given is love received.
Ko Otamaewa te Maunga, Ko Mahururoa te Awa, Ko Ngāpuhi te Iwi, ko Piki te Aroha te Marae.
K.M Harris is a writer and ex-New Zealand Army Soldier. She was drawn to Awa Wahine because of the kaupapa to promote stories written by women with it’s main puna or source of storytelling coming from the indigenous, native and Polynesian sisters.
“I’m inspired by a persons OWN story which I call a ‘reality read.’ What explodes my creative puna is having the privilege to tell a persons life journey that has a ‘cultural’ vibe to it - whatever that culture is.”
You can find more of her work at www.kimharrisnz.com/
Simone Workman (Ngāti Kahungungu ki Wairarapa) is a BA (Te Reo, Education) student who advocates for social change in the areas of rangatahi, mental health, equality, indigenous whānau, violence, family harm and wāhine.
Drawn to Awa Wahine by the safety it provides and the opportunity for wāhine to walk together in a world of vulnerability. For Simone, there is so much power in having a space where we can all hold each other with support, understanding and celebration.
“I’ve discovered that writing has a therapeutic, healing power. Sometimes, I struggle to articulate what is going on, writing seems to be a way to express what I cannot tangibly explain at times.”
Melanie (Ngāti Rongomai Wahine) is a mother of six. Between, kids, sports and school events, full-time work and part-time study. The dinner table always has at least 9 kids at it when they get together. And that’s just life outside of her creative mahi. She was first drawn to Awa Wahine by the blog post “Decolonizing My Hair” written by one of her whānau (whom she hadn’t seen for the past 27 years).
“I was inspired to create and share with Awa Wahine, initially to support the kaupapa… helping women to be heard and sharing stories. We all have stories to tell… but now I see that writing also helps our mental and emotional well being. Kind of like therapy. Helps us to process our thoughts and feelings.”
Maisy is a LLB/BA student who is actively involved in social change work in the mental health, youth development and women's empowerment areas especially in the not-for-profit sector. Drawn to the safe spaces of Awa Wahine and its forums for recognising women’s unique strength, whilst also recognising Aotearoa is a colonial society and truly intersectional in its kaupapa.
“I often start with an emotion, event or action in my life and then write. I feel that it allows me to say things I wouldn’t otherwise say and express things that can’t be expressed in any other way. A way to have the conversations on topics that no one else wants to talk to you about, that you know everyone is thinking about.”
Catherine Delahunty cannot, will not, does not, resist from writing. She has written her whole life, inspired by her peers. From the rich dairy lands of the Hauraki, Catherine is an activist across a range of issues from Free West Papua, Honour Te Tiriti, no mining in Hauraki and women's liberation.
Catherine is in recovery from 9 years as a Green Party MP and lends her wisdom to the pages of Awa Wahine.
tamara rochford kerr
Tamara Rochford Kerr of Raukawa ki Wharepuhunga is a teacher, reo speaker, writer and mentor. She has a bachelor’s degree in Māori Language and Indigenous Studies and is beginning her Masters in 2019. Currently she is writing a book called ‘Lean On Me’, based around the concept of everyday reconciliation within Aotearoa.
Tamara loves sharing indigenous stories, as well as contributing to the pages of Awa Wahine. She is co-creating a series of children’s books in te reo for whānau within hāpori who want to encourage their babies to read in te reo.
Sarah Knipping (Kai Tahu) is an early childhood kaiako, working towards her masters degree at Te Rito Maioha. She is passionate about forrest session learning for tamariki, and respectful practice. Sarah lives in Porirua with her adorable kurī, and together they explore the ngahere that surrounds their little whare.
As a woman of Māori and Pākehā descent, Sarah is interested in ideas of whakapapa.
Tabatha is founder of Well-Written, a blog written by, and for women to use creativity as a tool for positive mental health and well being. Tabatha uses creativity as a tool to overcome problems and difficulties in her life and to express herself to others.
“I write for mental health but not necessarily about it, as I believe they are different. The act of writing and communicating raw emotions through words and paintings has led to a better understanding of myself and my needs as a woman.”
Haylee (Pakakohi) is finishing her studies at University of Victoria with a double major in Political Science and International Relations. I work in hospitality and am training to enter Police College.
Haylee writes of her interests or that which she identifies with. She enjoys writing about current events in a way that helps her to learn about them and, if they are of conflict, to find creative solutions.
Jess V. Knipping
Jess Knipping (Kai Tahu) is a Wellington based designer and creator who studied Graphic Design. Jess is a keen traveller and a keen designer who is passionate about film and keeps a review blog. She is currently back at university working towards her graduate diploma of secondary education.
Hinenui (Taranaki, Ngāti Awa, Te Ati Awa) is a māmā first and foremost. Her nine-year-old son is the light of her life and her greatest gift. She has a blog called I am Hinenui www.iamhinenui.com where she writes about her experiences of being, young, brown, fat and solo.
She is currently completing her Master’s thesis on Te Ao Tawhito notions of body image and how we can use this to build a body positive empowerment framework for wāhine Māori. She also works in Maori Development as a project manager and team leader for a Kaupapa Māori organisation.
Isabella Whawhai Waru (Ngati Tukorehe, Te Ati Awa) is an interdisciplinary artist primary through voice and movement. A creator, storyteller, dancer, friend, child of the tūpuna, the atua and the whenua.
“I do my best to revel in the magic of each moment. I live on the stolen lands of Aboriginal peoples and do what I can to tautoko their mahi for liberation…. I'm still learning to trust the calls of myself and my tūpuna.”
Self-published author Frances Duncan lives in Wellington and she runs the Jane Austen society of New Zealand. In primary school the teachers used to take her books off her and tell her to go play. It seemed a natural progression to go from reading too much to writing.
“I am inspired to write because there are stories that want to be told and sometimes I get to tell them.”
Miriama (Ngāti Rakaipaaka, Ngāti Pahauwera, Ngāti Kahungunu) recently returned to the home fires of Aotearoa / New Zealand for the comedy duet of decolonisation and motherhood.
Miriama is a secondary teacher who is also studying immersion reo at Te Whare Wānanga o Raukawa. When she is not practising her reo, Miriama can be found drawing rainbows in street chalk with her toddler. She first discovered Awa Wahine through attending the Wāhine Who Write workshop in March 2019.
“It's a space to embrace wahine Māori and all that kaupapa without us having to fight for a space, let alone having to censor ourselves to fit in. Where I can be Māori without representing Māori.”
emma te rina smith
Ko Hikurangi te maunga, Ko Waiapu te awa, Ko Ngāti Porou te iwi. Ko Whareponga te marae. Ko Emma Te Rina Smith tōku ingoa.
“I am a giver, an over-sharer, a quiet book-worm and an a loud activist. I am Emma Te Rina and I am a Ngāti Porou women.”
Outside of her creations, Emma is a te Reo Māori teacher and a lover, sidekick and assistant to her loving partner. She is also an aunty to five beautiful babies and almost a mother to one (congratulations Emma!).
“I write to share my struggle with depression and anxiety which has made it almost impossible to have conversations, let alone articulate my thoughts. Writing helps me release the darkness inside and search for light.”
Hana Pera Aoake
Hana (Tainui, Ngāti Hinerangi, Ngāti Raukawa) has just completed a Master of Fine Arts. She submitted her writing in Awa Wahine because it felt safe to do so. Sometimes for Hana it feels like she doesn’t have a lot of direction…
“I still don't, but for now I'm just exploring and figuring out where I wanna be and what I wanna do.”
She wanted to get away from Aotearoa to get some perspective, so she has recently moved to Lisbon in Portugal.
“I think its how I come to understand who I am and what it means to be from a settler colony. I think about water a lot in terms of my te awa, growing inside my mother's body (in water), migration and colonisation. Thinking about water helps me unpack my sense of place.”