Wāhine – the things you stumble across when researching!

Wāhine (/wɑːˈhiːni/) is the Maori word for woman.

Today I have been looking for Maori women’s names appropriate to the late 1800s. My favourite so far is Ngahuia which means ‘a beautiful girl who can sing’. Perhaps it comes from the same root as my all time favourite New Zealand bird, the Huia, sadly now extinct. Like all wattlebirds, the Huia sang beautifully too.

In the midst of my online searches I happened upon something really rather wonderful. I encourage you to follow the link to ‘Our Wāhine’ to see a wonderfully rich and diverse illustrated history of New Zealand’s extraordinary women, created by New Zealand artist Kate Hursthouse to celebrate the 125th anniversary of Women’s suffrage in New Zealand in 2018. I wonder how many other countries in the world with a similar population could display so many women doing such great things, and coming from so many different backgrounds. Go on, take a look and click on any image to find out more about that person.

Anyway, back to my search for names – Ngahuia, Ngaire, Kare, Miria, Whina, Rangi, Rihi, Meri, Hera, Pania, Ruia, Niniwa, Heni, Akenehi, Miriama, Te Paea …….. what to choose???

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