Author(s): Judith Binney and Gillian Chaplin
In eight remarkable oral histories, Ngá Mórehu brings alive the experience of Máori women from the mid-twentieth century. Heni Brown , Reremoana Koopu, Maaka Jones, Hei Ariki Algie, Heni Sunderland, Miria Rua, Putiputi Onekawaand Te Akakura Rua talked with Judith Binney and Gillian Chaplin, sharing stories and memories.
These are the women whose ‘voices must be heard’. The title, The Survivors, refects the women’s connection with the visionary leader Te Kooti Arikirangi Te Turuki and his followers, who adopted the name ‘Ngá Mórehu’ during the wars of the 1860s. But these women are not only survivors: they are alsothe chosen ones, the leaders of their society. They speak here of richly diverse lives – of arranged marriages and whángai adoption traditions, of working in both Máori and Pákehá communities. They pay testimony to their strong sense of a shared identity created by religious and community teachings
'To read the life histories of these women is a rare privilege. We are swept up into a world of pain, poverty and the sheer grind of daily life in rural villages. … Throughout all the narrativesthere is a strong sense of taha wairua – spiritual beliefs instilled by infuential whanau elders. To read these stories is to become enveloped in a brilliantly patterned cloak where all the strongthreads are bound together with warmth and aroha.' Keri Kaa, NZ Listener, 30 May 1987
'For much of women’s history, memory is the only way of discovering the past. Other sourcessimply do not exist. This is true for any history of Máori women in this century. All the womenin this book have lived through times of acute social disturbance. Their voices must be heard.' --Judith Binney, 1992
Judith Binney, was the author of many award-winning histories, including Redemption Songs: A Life of Te Kooti Arikirangi Te Turuki (1995) and Encircled Lands: TeUrewera 1820–1921(2009). Her work will appear also in Tangata Whenua: An Illustrated History (forthcoming, 2012).
Photographer Gillian Chaplin is a director of the Melbourne- based Magian Design Studio, specialising in exhibition design around the world.