- Bay of Plenty
Ngahuia Te Awekotuku is a short story writer, essayist and spokeswoman on Maori, feminist and lesbian issues. Born in Rotorua of Te Arawa, Waikato and Tuhoe descent, Te Awekotuku contributes to various communities and organizations as an activist, curator, and professor. She has published a collection of essays which weave together the strands in her life as Maori, feminist, lesbian and academic. She has also published a collection of traditional stories, retold by her, about women of mana in Maori myth and history.
FROM THE OXFORD COMPANION TO NEW ZEALAND LITERATURE
Te Awekotuku, Ngahuia (1949– ), short story writer, essayist and spokeswoman on Maori, feminist and lesbian issues, was born in Rotorua of Te Arawa, Waikato and Tūhoe descent.
At Auckland University she was active in gay and feminist movements and Nga Tamatoa, the emergent Maori rights group. She completed an MA in English (1974), with a thesis on Janet Frame, and PhD on the socio-cultural effects of tourism on the Te Arawa people (1981).
She was curator of ethnology at the Waikato Museum, 1985–87, lecturer in art history at Auckland University 1987–96, and is now professor of Maori studies at Victoria University. Her first short story, ‘Tahuri: the Runaway’, was included in New Women’s Fiction (1987) and in her own collection, Tahuri (1989). Loosely autobiograph- ical stories of a young Maori girl’s growing up and discovery of sexual identity, this collection makes Maori, and especially lesbian, women central and Pakeha peripheral, carrying out what Te Awekotuku has called her ‘responsibility to the fierce women fighters, shamans and poets of Maori legend and myth the resilient courageous women of my own extended family to ensure their stories are not lost in a mawkishly romantic muddle of male translated history’.
This statement, rejecting ‘colonial and contemporary ethnography’, is from Mana Wahine Maori: Selected Writings on Maori Women’s Art, Culture and Politics, a collection of essays from 1971 to 1990 which weave together the strands in her life as Maori, feminist, lesbian and academic.
Ruahine: Mythic Women (2003) is a collection of fresh retellings of traditional stories about women of mana in Maori myth and history.
MEDIA LINKS AND CLIPS
- Ngahuia Te Awekotuku bibliography in the Auckland University Library's New Zealand Literature File.
Updated January 2017.