Whina: Whaea o te Motu
Director Bryan Bruce
Producer Bryan Bruce
Editor Jim Brakenbury
With Narrator: John Bach
Historian the late Doctor Michael King, speaks to Dame Whina Cooper (Te Rarawa) about her life and the Hokianga district. Dame Whina was the eldest child from the second marriage of Heremia Te Wake, a prominent chief of the Northern Hokianga. She was born in 1895, on the earth floor of the hut overlooking the Hokianga Harbour. Heremia groomed her to take his place as a future leader and as a devout Catholic. He built St Peter’s, Whakarapa, which stands below Panguru Mountain. It was opened in October 1883. Sir James Carroll, Minister of Native Affairs assisted in the raising and the educating of Whina, who graduated from St Joseph’s Māori Girls College, Greenmeadows, Napier in 1910.
She married a young surveyor named Richard Gilbert, then in 1949 William Cooper. At 56 she became the first leader for the Māori Women’s Welfare League; in 1956 received an MBE; she began fundraising for the first urban marae and in 1964 Te Unga Waka, in Newmarket was opened; in March 1974 she formed Te Matakite, the Land March Organisation; on Waitangi Day 1981 she was invested as Dame Whina Cooper; she delivered the ‘Welcome’ message for the 1990 Commonwealth Games. Her daughter, Hine Puru speaks about Whina’s alienation from her people in the latter years of her life.
This Matariki screening is to support of the exhibition “Wāhine: Beyond the Dusky Maiden” at Turnbull Gallery , 6 June-25 August, 2017.