Ngahuia Te Awekotuku

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Ngahuia Te Awekotuku

Ngahuia Te Awekotuku MNZM (cropped).jpg
Te Awekotuku in 2010
Born1949 (age 70–71)
NationalityNew Zealand
Academic background
Alma materUniversity of Auckland
Academic work
Sub-disciplineMaori studies
InstitutionsVictoria University of Wellington,
Waikato University
Notable worksMau Moko: the world of Maori tattoo

Ngahuia Te Awekotuku MNZM (born 1949) is a New Zealand academic specialising in Māori cultural issues and a lesbian activist.[1]


Te Awekotuku is descended from Te Arawa, Tūhoe and Waikato iwi.[2]

As a student she was a member of Ngā Tamatoa at the University of Auckland, .[3] Her Master of Arts thesis was on Janet Frame[3] and her PhD on the effects of tourism on the Te Arawa people.[3][4]

Te Awekotuku has worked across the heritage, culture and academic sectors as a curator, lecturer, researcher and activist. Her areas of research interest include gender issues, museums, body modification, power and powerlessness, spirituality and ritual.[5] She has been curator of ethnology at the Waikato Museum; lecturer in art history at Auckland University,[3] and professor of Maori studies at Victoria University of Wellington.[3] She was Professor of Research and Development at Waikato University.[2] She and Marilyn Waring contributed the piece "Foreigners in our own land" to the 1984 anthology Sisterhood Is Global: The International Women's Movement Anthology, edited by Robin Morgan.[6] Although now retired, she continues to write.

In the 2010 New Year Honours, Te Awekotuku was appointed a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to Māori culture.[7] In 2017, she won an Auckland Museum Medal.[8]

Research into tā moko[edit]

Te Awekotuku has researched and written extensively on the traditional and contemporary practices of tā moko (tattoo) in New Zealand. Her 2007 (re-published in 2011) book Mau Moko: the world of Maori tattoo, co-authored with Linda Waimarie Nikora, was the product of a five-year long research project conducted by the Māori and Psychology Research Unit at Waikato University, funded by a Marsden Fund grant.[9][10]

Te Awekotuku took a moko kauae (facial moko) to mark the death of Te Arikinui Dame te Atairangikaahu in 2006.[11][12]

Research into the Māori way of death[edit]

In 2009 Te Awekotuku and Linda Waimarie Nikora received a $950,000 Marsden Fund grant as lead researchers in the Māori and Psychology Research Unit at Waikato University for the research project 'Apakura: the Maori way of death'. A further $250,000 was received from the Nga Pae o te Maramatanga National Institute of Research Excellence to explore past and present practices around tangihanga.[13]

Visitors permit denial[edit]

In 1972, Te Awekotuku was denied a visitors permit to the USA on the grounds that she was a homosexual. Publicity around the incident was a catalyst in the formation of Gay Liberation groups in New Zealand.[14] This may have been related to a TV interview she gave in 1971, in which she described herself as a 'sapphic woman'.[15]

Selected publications[edit]

On art and artists[edit]

  • E ngaa uri whakatupu - weaving legacies : Dame Rangimarie Hetet and Diggeress Te Kanawa, Hamilton: Waikato Museum Te Whare Taonga o Waikato, 2015. ISBN 9780473326036
  • 'Traditions endure : Five Maori Painters at Auckland Art Gallery', Art New Zealand, Winter 2014, no. 150, pp. 58–61.
  • 'A glorious tradition', Art New Zealand, Winter 2003, no.103.
  • Unveiling our hidden treasures : the Seventh Pacific Festival of Arts 1996;', Art New Zealand, Summer 1996/1997, no. 81, pp. 42–45,84.
  • 'Forgiving, but never forgetting : Shared Visions at the Auckland City Art Gallery', Art New Zealand, Winter 1996, no. 79, pp. 74–77.
  • 'He Take Ano: Another Take - Conversations with Lisa Reihana', Art New Zealand, Spring 1993, no. 68, pp. 84–87
  • 'Kura Te Waru Rewiri', Art New Zealand, Spring 1993, no. 68, pp. 91–93
  • Mana wahine Maori: Selected writings on Maori women's art, culture and politicsAuckland: New Woman Press, 1991. ISBN 0908652631
  • 'Art and the spirit', New Zealand Geographic, Jan/Mar 1990, no. 5, pp. 93–97.
  • 'Mats of the Pacific', Art New Zealand, Spring 1989, no. 52, pp..88-90
  • 'Te whakahoutanga o Te Winika (The restoration of Te Winika)', New Zealand Listener, 28 November 1987, p. 67.
  • 'Ngahuia Te Awekotuku in conversation with Elizabeth Eastmond and Priscilla Pitts’, Antic, no. 1, 1986.

On tā moko[edit]

  • 'Tā Moko: Māori Tattoo', in Goldie, (1997) exhibition catalogue, Auckland: Auckland City Art Gallery and David Bateman, pp. 108–114.
  • 'More than Skin Deep', in Barkan, E. and Bush, R. (eds.), Claiming the Stone: Naming the Bones: Cultural Property and the Negotiation of National and Ethnic Identity (2002) Los Angeles: Getty Press, pp. 243–254.
  • Ta Moko: Culture, body modification, and the psychology of identity, paper given at the Proceedings of the National Māori Graduates of Psychology Symposium 2002.
  • Ngahuia Te Awekotuku, with Linda Waimarie Nikora, Mohi Rua, your face: wearing Moko – Maori facial marking in today’s world[permanent dead link], paper given at Tatau/Tattoo: Embodied art and cultural exchange conference, Victoria University of Wellington, 21–22 August 2003.
  • Ngahuia Te Awekotuku, with Linda Waimarie Nikora, Mohi Rua and Rolinda Karapu, Mau moko : the world of Māori tattoo, Auckland: Penguin Books, 2011. ISBN 9780143566854

On death in Maori culture[edit]

  • Tess Moeke-Maxwell, Linda Waimarie Nikora, and Ngahuia Te Awekotuku, 'Manaakitanga: Ethical research with Māori who are dying', in M. Agee, T. McIntosh, P. Culbertson, & C. Makasiale (eds.), Pacific Identities and Well-Being - Cross Cultural Perspectives, London: Routledge, 2003, pp. 188–203.
  • Vincent Malcolm-Buchanan, Lina Waimarie Nikora and Ngahuia Te Awekotuku, Cloaked in Life and Death: Korowai, kaitiaki and tangihanga, MAI Journal, vol. 1, no. 1, 2012.
  • Tess Moeke-Maxwell, Linda Waimarie Nikora, and Ngahuia Te Awekotuku, 'End-of-life care and Māori whānau resilience', MAI Journal, vol. 3, no. 2, pp. 140–152.

Further information[edit]


  1. ^ Taonga, New Zealand Ministry for Culture and Heritage Te Manatu. "5. – Lesbian lives – Te Ara Encyclopedia of New Zealand". Retrieved 25 February 2017.
  2. ^ a b "Ngahuia Te Awekotuku - Māori & Pacific Development : University of Waikato". Archived from the original on 7 June 2014. Retrieved 29 May 2019.
  3. ^ a b c d e Samdog Design Ltd. "New Zealand Book Council". Archived from the original on 26 November 2012. Retrieved 29 May 2019.
  4. ^ Ngahuia, Te Awekotuku (1 January 1981). The sociocultural impact of tourism on the Te Arawa people of Rotorua, New Zealand. (Thesis). University of Waikato. Retrieved 25 February 2017.
  5. ^ "Professor Ngahuia Te Awekotuku". Nga Pae O Te Maramatanga. Retrieved 25 December 2015.
  6. ^ "Table of Contents: Sisterhood is global". Archived from the original on 8 December 2015. Retrieved 15 October 2015.
  7. ^ "New Year honours list 2010". Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. 31 December 2009. Retrieved 5 January 2018.
  8. ^ "Museum Medals".
  9. ^ "Mau Moko - The World of Māori tattoo". Waikato University. 5 December 2007. Retrieved 25 December 2015.
  10. ^ Tahana, Yvonne (24 July 2014). "Mau Moko - The World of Māori tattoo". NZ Herald. Retrieved 25 December 2015.
  11. ^ Te Awekotuku, Ngahuia (21 September 2012). "The rise of the Maori tribal tattoo". Retrieved 25 December 2015.
  12. ^ Higgins, Rawinia. "Tā moko – Māori tattooing - Contemporary moko". Te Ara - Encyclopedia of New Zealand. Retrieved 25 December 2015.
  13. ^ "Prestigious grant for Waikato Uni research into the Maori way of death". Waikato University. 8 October 2009. Retrieved 25 December 2015.
  14. ^ "Birth of the gay movement - Homosexual law reform | NZHistory, New Zealand history online". Retrieved 25 February 2017.
  15. ^ "A Chronology of Homosexuality in New Zealand - Part 1 - Queer History New Zealand".