He Reo Wahine: Maori Women's Voices from the Nineteenth Century
During the nineteenth century, Maori women produced letters and memoirs, wrote off to newspapers and commissioners, appeared before commissions of enquiry, gave evidence in court cases, and went to the Native Land Court to assert their rights. He Reo Wahine is a bold new introduction to the experience of Maori women in colonial New Zealand through Maori women's own words - the speeches and evidence, letters and testimonies that they left in the archive. Drawing from over 500 texts in both English and te reo Maori written by Maori women themselves, or expressing their words in the first person, He Reo Wahine explores the range and diversity of Maori women's concerns and interests, the many ways in which they engaged with colonial institutions, as well as their understanding and use of the law, legal documents, and the court system. The book both collects those sources - providing readers with substantial excerpts from letters, petitions, submissions and other documents - and interprets them. Eight chapters group texts across key themes: land sales, war, land confiscation and compensation, politics, petitions, legal encounters, religion and other private matters. Beside a large scholarship on New Zealand women's history, the historical literature on Maori women is remarkably thin. This book changes that by utilising the colonial archives to explore the feelings, thoughts and experiences of M?ori women - and their relationships to the wider world.
"He Reo Wahine makes for fascinating reading bringing together as it does a wide range of nineteenth-century Maori women's voices out from colonial archives and in to the public purview. The extensive quotes, excerpts and wholesale reproductions of texts which fill many of He Reo Wahine's pages make for a rich, generative reading experience which is carefully guided by the authors' narrative." - Arini Loader, Victoria University of Wellington "This book presents a rich and ranging collection of Maori women speaking from the nineteenth-century archive. The hopes, the persistence, the effort to set down a cause are all apparent in the words of women presented in these pages. It is in various measures an inspiring, instructive and agonising read." - Charlotte Macdonald, Victoria University of Wellington