Māori Women's League farewells outgoing president

By Stefan Dimitrof

Photo / Prue Kapua (left) and Dr Hope Tupara

The Māori Women's Welfare League, which recently celebrated 70 years, has a new president, elected over the weekend at the league's national huiātau in Ōtautahi.

The outgoing president, Prue Kapua (Ngāti Whakaue, Ngāti Kahungunu) is stepping down from the role, after eight years of leading the league and is being replaced by Dr Hope Tupara (Ngāi Tāmanuhiri, Rongowhakaata, Ngāi te Rangi, Ngā Pōtiki a Tamapahore, Ngāpuhi) and vice president Hiria Hape (Ngai Tuhoe, Te Whakatōhea).

Kapua said the newly elected officers were bringing major experiences to the roles with “enormous skills and enormous vision” for the league and its future endeavours.

Kapua said she should have vacated the position earlier but, as the world was gripped by the pandemic, it delayed the three-yearly election so Kapua should have served only six years in total.

“I have stood in this position for a long time. It is important to have the refreshing of the leadership of the league and that you have new faces sitting around the table," she said.

Kapua says some of the highlights of her position were achieving “greater visibility”, and having higher engagement with government agencies such as the Police and Oranga Tamariki.

“We have ECOSOC status meaning that we have the ability to go to any UN forum, so we can put for the issues for wāhine Māori”.

Kapua said that one of the challenges that the league faces, especially the role that she served in was “ensuring that our voices as wahine Māori are heard.

"We’ve been around for seventy years and it’s still a bit of a challenge as people try to bypass us and it's something we have to be vigilant about.”