He Māngai Wāhine to air on Māori Television

By Regan Paranihi

He Māngai Wāhine, a one hour documentary about women's suffrage in the 20th century and the political activity of wāhine Māori will air on Māori Television tonight.

The documentary tells the story of the women's suffrage movement from the 1890s and follows descendants of the wāhine Māori who were involved in securing the right to vote in New Zealand during those trying times.

Documentary director Katie Wolf says, “They were very proud to know that they had these wāhine in their whakapapa and they worked very closely because they were still very hungry to learn more about the work of their tupuna.”

Wolf says making the documentary was important for reviving the forgotten history of that era.  

“A lot of our Māori stories, history stories, are not told in New Zealand- particularly around the land wars, but stories pertaining to wāhine Māori are even less told.

“I think a lot of our history in Aotearoa has been told through the lens of Pākehā men, so therefore often female stories haven’t been preserved and told- and doubly wahine Māori stories haven’t been told because of that.”

Wolf is calling on the education system to include all New Zealand history in the curriculum.

“I think that we really need to step it up in our kura and schools around New Zealand in teaching New Zealand history, particularly our Māori history.”

Wolf says the documentary is only a small portion of the story and hopes others will continue the trend of telling rich New Zealand history through documentary.