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Browse the 1966 Encyclopaedia of New Zealand
Graphic: An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand 1966.


This information was published in 1966 in An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand, edited by A. H. McLintock. It has not been corrected and will not be updated.

Up-to-date information can be found elsewhere in Te Ara.



Maori Women

An account of women's achievements in this country would not be complete without reference to the successes of Maori women. Originally most of them lived in rural areas, caring for their families and helping with general tasks around the farm. Some obtained local or seasonal employment as it became available, but relatively few left home to take up permanent positions. The rapidly increasing Maori population and consequent subdivision of Maori land meant that farmers were unable to support large families. Further, as small rural townships could not provide sufficient employment for all young people leaving school, more and more have had to go to larger centres for both training and work, and have with credit become efficient teachers, nurses, toll operators, factory workers, tram conductresses, office workers, and institutional domestic workers. Throughout the country there are Maori women in specialised and responsible positions – doctor, hospital matron, politician, art and craft specialist, radio announcer, training college lecturer, and district nurse. Some have been successful on the stage both in New Zealand and overseas. As far as their individual abilities and ambitions go, Maori women in general have proved that they are capable of holding their own with their European colleagues.