Awa Wahine is a community of women sharing their stories of what it is to be woman today, a safe space to write stories and share knowledge. Please read here for our goals and aims and how you can tautoko our mahi. If you have an article, interview, story or selection of artwork you would like to share on Awa Wahine check out our submissions page here. To advertise on Awa Wahine contact Ataria at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ataria Rangipikitia Sharman (Ngāpuhi, Tapuika)
Ataria is the editor and birth mother of Awa Wahine. Awa Wahine was conceived, when Ataria realised that there was nowhere for her non-fiction writings 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. River Women also holds meaning for Awa Wahine which is women coming together to share their own strands of thought in a collective river of creativity.”
Ataria is an avid reader and writer. Her manuscript for young adults fiction novel was selected to take part in Te Papa Tupu 2018 - a programme for selected Maori writers facilitated by Huia Publishers and the Maori Literature Trust
Irihipeti Waretini (Ngāti Rangi)
Irihipeti is a contributor for Awa Wahine and coordinates all aspects of the website and social media. Irihipeti brings years of marketing and design experience from managing her own business and supporting the development of small businesses in Melbourne, to Awa Wahine.
“I draw and design, I've studied art therapy, been a freelance photographer, am a lifelong song writer and sing too. All creative expressions of how I process my life experiences. Awa Wahine was a platform that really resonated 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 Maori 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 (Rongomai Wahine from Mahia) 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 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 kuri, and together they explore the ngahere that surrounds their little whare.
As a woman of both Māori and Pākehā descent, Sarah is interested in ideas of whakapapa. Through modern day complications of whāngai, finding a connection to her iwi is a journey she is slowly making her way through.
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 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.