Nuku - the release of a new book that celebrates indigenous wāhine

By Marena Mane

Founder and creator of Nuku, Qiane Matata-Sipu, says she credits her motivation for founding the multimedia company which promotes indigenous wāhine to intergenerational kōrero with her late grandmother, Dawn Matata.

“I guess, wanting to have real authentic conversations through multimedia platforms that weren't just selfies or photos of your food, and really help to change the narrative for our future generations about how amazing indigenous wāhine actually are,” says Matata-Sipu, of Te Waiohua, Tainui, Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Pikiao and the Cook Islands.

Nuku is a multimedia movement that uses photography, podcasts, events and now a book to promote indigenous women.

Matata-Sipu began her career as a journalist and has worked as a writer, photographer and editor for a number of publications before launching her own multimedia communications company.

“Through that, I've been able to work with the likes of Walt Disney Company on some exhibitions celebrating wāhine around the world.”

She says it is nice to know that Nuku has inspired or revealed stories inside their own whānau, as well as the incredible wāhine who have offered their expertise that no one would have known if we had not heard their story.

“Thinking about Ngahuia Murphy and how she's reviving kōrero around menstruation for wāhine. Thinking about Maata Wharehoka who talks about a traditional way to deal with our tūpāpaku and what does death actually look like for us.” 

Nuku: Stories of 100 indigenous women

Despite having been published in a variety of publications, this will be Matata-Sipu's first experience of self-publishing a book.

“It's really exciting to actually see your name on a book for the first time, even though you've been in this industry for about 15 years.”

Nuku is about narrative sovereignty, says Matata-Sipu, which means we control our stories and share them through multimedia platforms like audio, video and photographic imagery, which are then compiled into a book.

“It was really important to self-publish because I wanted to show what Tino Rangatiratanga and publishing can look like when mana motuhake and story sovereignty looks like when we own every single part of the process.”

She says the entire book was written and published entirely by indigenous women, making it the first of its type, and she urges other women to do the same. 

“Anyone else can do that too. And so, that was really important in our decision making to show others and to show wāhine Māori that we're completely capable of doing this ourselves.”

Nuku hopes to do a book tour in January and a few events next year, if Covid allows it, says Matata-Sipu.

“From here, what we're really keen to do is get this pukapuka into every single household, into every kura, into every library. It's really important that we have these wāhine stories out there.”

To purchase your copy of the self-published book: Nuku: Stories of 100 indigenous women head to nukuwomen.co.nz.