NUKU: 100 kickass indigenous women: WORD Christchurch 2022

When Qiane Matata-Sipu’s started her groundbreaking multimedia NUKU project interviewing and photographing 100 leading indigenous women, she thought it would take a year. It took three years. In this NUKU event, Qiane shared the stage with two of the awesome wāhine who feature in the project and pukapuka - broadcaster and te reo champion Stacey Morrison and high achieving 15-year-old CEO of Pōtiki Poi Georgia Latu (who during lockdown added author to her super impressive list of achievements).

NUKU allows wāhine of diverse backgrounds and ages have their say, their way - with a strong culture of story sovereignty. If that means dropping the f bomb sixty times, so be it. 

Qiane Matata-Sipu (NUKU: 100 kickass indigenous women)
Qiane Matata-Sipu and the NUKU book

What has happened since the publication of the NUKU pukapuka

Georgia has got 30 Countdown stores stocking poi and she wrote the book Ngā mihi with her mum in lockdown. It is a resource about poi. Their business have a contract to make 30,000 poi by October.

Stacey has got LAND BACK. 

Qiane has gone back to kura and is studying. 

Georgia Latu (NUKU: 100 kickass indigenous women)
Georgia Latu

What's the whakapapa of your mahi?

Stacey recognises her Pāpā James Daniels, and being a second generation radio brat. She says how hard it is to learn the reo, and that her book Kia Kaha is a love letter to all the tamariki in Aotearoa.

Georgia's Mum is a lecturer, and she reckons she gets her public speaking skill from watching her Mum lecture to hundreds. Another driver is acknowledging hapori with diverse abilities, Her little brother Api has Downs Syndrome:

For the future sustainability of my business we are employing those with diverse abilities to work for us, with the hope that some day Api might be able to continue my dream and run the business himself.

Stacey Morrison
Stacey Morrison

What about failure?

Stacey talks about wanting to be on Ice TV and not getting the job, but working on Marae instead. She pronounced "kaupapa" wrong and sitting in that failure is a resilience she learned and the healing of deep language trauma. 

Georgia didn't see failure, more holes that had to be filled and making change for whānau with diverse abilities.

Advice for each other

Stacey emphasised the importance of a choice of partner, and the wish that Georgia will find someone who is at her level and the importance of "who you join whakapapa lines with".

Georgia hopes for Stacey that she can move into a new area and create change. 

Not only did the wāhine give each other good advice, they held up other women in NUKU like Kelly Tikao. They admired the kuia in the book for the beauty of their kōrero and lived experience.

Te Reo Māori

This event was a tribute to wāhine, and also to te reo. 

Speaking Māori in our homes is an act of mana motuhake that we can do any day.

Georgia says "There are words in te reo Māori that you just can't say in English". 

Parts of this session were fully in te reo Māori, including an audience question asked and answered in te reo. This contrasted to an occasion when Georgia was interviewed and the kōrero was in Māori - until the record button was hit. She looks forward to simply being able to speak Māori and continue. 

Every act of speaking Māori is courageous and I believe it calls our ancestors to us. 

Stacey said a little bit of te reo Māori every day is important when learning - 30 minutes a day minimum.

All three get a bit wistful:

Dreaming in Māori is a bit amazing. 

This uplifting kōrero was followed with kai. It was a rich session, and a privilege to be in the room. Thank you Qiane, Georgia, and Stacey. 

For other perspectives on this session, look at and read Tara Black's arty sum up. It captures so many of the wise words we heard.
Rosemarie's tweet sums up this session beautifully. 

Photos from the NUKU event




Ngā Mihi

Kia Kaha

Books by Stacey Morrison

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