Story: Te mana o te wāhine – Māori women

Page 8. Education and sport

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Māori girls’ boarding schools

Although criticised by some as preparing girls for domesticity, Māori girls’ boarding schools such as St Joseph’s Māori Girls’ College, Hukarere, Turakina and Queen Victoria have played a major role in educating young Māori women and preparing them for leadership. St Joseph’s and Hukarere were still open in 2016.

University achievers

Bessie Te Wenerau Grace of Ngāti Tūwharetoa, the granddaughter of paramount chief Horonuku Te Heuheu, was the first Māori woman to graduate from a university. She received a BA from Canterbury University in 1926 and later a BA and MA with first-class honours in modern languages from London University.

Ngāpare Hopa of Ngāti Wairere was the first Māori woman to receive a PhD in anthropology, from Oxford University, England. Her commitment to Māori education has spanned more than 40 years, and in the early 21st century she was a leading Māori academic.

In 2016 Professor Linda Tuhiwai Smith (Ngāti Awa, Ngāti Porou) was the only female pro-vice chancellor Māori at any university. Based at the University of Waikato, Professor Smith was internationally recognised for her work in education. Her book Decolonizing methodologies: research and indigenous peoples (1999) challenged Western ways of researching. It argued for the decolonisation of methodologies and a new type of indigenous research.

Māori women and sport

Māori women have also achieved much in sport. They include Margaret Matangi of Te Āti Awa, who was the captain of the first national New Zealand netball team in 1938. Ruia Morrison was a famous Māori tennis player who competed at Wimbledon from 1957 to 1960, reaching the last 16. Dr Farah Palmer of Ngāti Mahuta and Ngāti Waiora captained the Black Ferns rugby teams which won the 1998, 2002 and 2006 World Cup tournaments.

How to cite this page:

Rawinia Higgins rāua ko Paul Meredith, 'Te mana o te wāhine – Māori women - Education and sport', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 22 June 2024)

Story by Rawinia Higgins rāua ko Paul Meredith, published 5 May 2011, updated 1 Jun 2017