While the country celebrated 125 years of women’s suffrage yesterday, concerns were expressed that women still don’t have the same status as men, pay parity being an area of concern when it comes to equity.

Mona-Pauline Mangakahia says when it comes to true equality there is much work to be done.

“Kua roa te huarahi he maha ngā mahi kua mahia, ēngari he mahi tonu kei kua i a tātou.”

Labour MP Adrian Rurawhe also agrees. 

“Kua haere whakamua, āe, ēngari kāore anō tātou kia tae ki taua taumata e rite tonu te tāne me te wāhine.”

Mau Company production Mausina was recently held at Parliament Grounds in Wellington.

The dance production focuses on community, family, nature, the power of female existence and used a mix of te reo Māori and Pasifika languages.

Artist Ria Te Uira Paki of Ngāti Tūwharetoa had this to say about the production.

“Āe, tēnei ngā whakaari o mātou o te kamupene o Mau, otirā ngā wāhine Māori o te kamupene o Mau he whakakikokiko, he whakaputaina i te wairua nō roto i a mātou anō hoki, nō ngā tīpuna me ngā reanga e haere ake nei.”

 

Descendants of Iriaka Ratana and Meri Te Tai Mangakahia pay tribute to ancestors

Iriaka Ratana was the first Māori woman to enter Parliament (also known as the Lion’s Den) as an MP.

Grandson and Labour MP Adrian Rurawhe says Iriaka was one of the few women in the Whanganui district who were allowed to speak on the marae.

“He tino hōnore tērā, ēngari i runga i te mea i haere ai ia ki ngā wānanga kia ako aua āhuatanga ka mōhio ai ia i taua wā ngā whakapapa, ngā kaupapa, ngā tikanga o Te Tai Hauāuru.”

Meri Te Tai Mangakahia was one of the principal personalities of the suffragette movement.

Her descendant, Mona-Pauline Mangakahia, is understandably glowing about her ancestor and had this to say to Te Karere about her.

“Kia taea ērā momo a Iriaka mā ki te tū ai ki te whakaputa i ngā whakaaro e pā ana ki ō tātou wāhine Māori. Ki a au nei, ehara noa iho mō ā tātou wāhine Māori, mō ā tātou whānau Māori.”

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