Wāhine like me – NUKU: 100 Stories of Indigenous Women by Qiane Matata-Sipu

Longlisted for the Booksellers Aotearoa New Zealand Award for Illustrated Non-Fiction as part of the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards, NUKU: Stories of 100 Indigenous Women is visually stunning. From the front cover and all the way through, it is filled with amazing photographs of beautiful wāhine taketake (indigenous women) from across Aotearoa and beyond. And alongside these beautiful images, are the stories told by these wāhine, celebrating their successes, their journeys and their indigeneity.

The powerhouse behind this multimedia storytelling project is Qiane Matata-Sipu: journalist, photographer, māmā, activist and finalist in the Culture & Arts category of the NZ Women of Influence Awards. For three years, she spoke to the incredible wāhine included in NUKU; recording podcasts, videos, and photoshoots, organizing live events and art exhibitions, and of course putting together the book.

This is the kind of book I wish I’d had growing up.

In it, I could see wāhine like me. I could see wāhine like others I know. I could see wāhine I wanted to be like, or wanted to get to know, or was just plain amazed by. Any indigenous girl or woman could pick up NUKU and see themselves reflected in it. Any indigenous girl could read this book and see 100 different amazing things she could do or be or try.

The wāhine included are diverse in age, ability, sexuality, identity, career and ethnicity. Some are well known public faces like Kanoa Lloyd, Marama Davidson and Stacey Morrison. Others, like Angela Swann-Cronin and Kim Tairi, are the only indigenous women in their fields. Some are Pasifika, Melanesian, Mexican, Himalayan, Wijadjuri, Moriori and of course Māori. The youngest is a 14 year old CEO, the oldest a 70 year old Educator.

As I read NUKU, I found myself going down a rabbit hole of googling and book borrowing. Every wāhine I read about made me want to look more into them. I wanted to buy from their businesses, learn from their research, and support their kaupapa. I also wanted to learn more about the cultures of those from outside Aotearoa. It’s fascinating to see where the similarities between various indigenous cultures lie, and where our differences are.

All this to say: I can’t wait to show this to my daughter.

I really loved this book, and I think you will too.

Win a copy of NUKU: Stories of 100 Indigenous Women

Thanks to the team at NUKU, we have a copy to give away to one lucky person! The lucky winner is Roberta.