Whakatū Wāhine – Women Here and Now

2018 marked the 125th anniversary of women’s suffrage in New Zealand; on 19 September 1893 the Electoral Act (1893) was passed, and women in New Zealand won the right to vote. Anniversaries of this event are special opportunities to reflect on women’s leadership in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Petone Settlers Museum Te Whare Whakāro o Pito-one was proud to present Whakatū Wāhine – Women Here and Now as part of the 125th anniversary commemorations. We chose to showcase the contributions younger generations of women make to our communities’ health and vibrancy. To do this, we invited the public to nominate women aged 15 to 40 who demonstrate inspiring leadership in the Te Awakairangi Lower Hutt area to be featured in this display.

From a large group of nominations, our selection panel chose five women’s stories to share: Sharee Adam, Te Hau Winitana, Sithmi Sathruwani, Skye Chadwick and Sisi Tuala-Le’afa.  These wāhine exemplify contemporary community leadership.

Whether their focus is on fostering cultural identity through language and dance, building resilient communities, or addressing diversity in a changing technological world, this new generation is leading community change we can all be proud of.

Enjoy learning about these women in the videos below.

Te Hau Winitana (Ngāti Ruapani, Te Ātiawa, Kuki Airani), Founder, Īnano Dance

Sithmi Sathruwani (Sri Lanka/Aotearoa New Zealand), Board of Trustees – Student Representative, Hutt Valley High School

Skye Chadwick (Te Awakairangi), Founding member, Hearth Trust

Sharee Adam, (Ngāti Koroki-Kahukura, Ngāti Paoa) Founding member, Tōku Reo Charitable Trust.

Sisi Tuala-Le’afa (Savai’i, Samoa), Manager, EMPOWER – Empowering Māori and Pacific of Wainuiomata to Excel and Rise