Autauhinera: Sisterhood Legacies of the Te Arawa Women’s Health League

Until: Sunday, 11 February 2018
Venue: Rotorua Lakes Council Galleria (Fenton Street)

Time: 8am - 5pm

Price: Free

80 years after the launch of this grassroots organisation an exhibition chronicling Te Arawa Women’s Health League opens at Rotorua Lakes Council Galleria on Friday 1 December 2017.

The Te Arawa Women’s Health League was founded by district nurse Robina Cameron with the support of Te Arawa elders in the Rotorua District in 1937. The league’s focus was the health of Māori women and children working through marae-based women’s committees.

The need for such an organisation was revealed in the words of current league president Hariata Pikea.

“Our people and babies were dying, the sanitation was poor, our homes had no water or sewerage, our babies – the mortality rate was so high. I can feel their tears today. Hope arrived in the 1930s, when Kamerana, the little Pakeha nurse, visited us in her Model T Ford and hoihoi (horse).”

Stories told in Autauhinera: Sisterhood – Legacies of the Te Arawa Women’s Health League reflect the lives of women and children in the 1930s and early 1940s and reveals the reality of daily life for women at this time, along with the great sense of camaraderie that still holds true today.

The exhibition, and related book, is the culmination of two years research led by Dr Laurie Morrison and researcher Raina Meha.

Morrison acknowledges the Māori trusts and funding bodies that have made this project possible including the Women’s Health League, Ngati Whakaue Endowment Trust, Rotorua Energy Charitable Trust, Ngati Pikiao, Ngati Kearoa and Te Roro o Te Rangi Trusts.

Rotorua Lakes Council and Rotorua Museum Te Whare Taonga o Te Arawa assisted in research and provision of historical photographs for the book and exhibition.

Autauhinera: Sisterhood – Legacies of the Te Arawa Women’s Health League is on display the Rotorua Lakes Council Galleria (Fenton Street) Monday – Friday from 8am - 5pm until 11 February 2018 (except from 12pm on the 22 December 2017 until 8 January 2018 when the council offices are closed).

The Women’s Health League pictured at Ohinemutu, 1937.

The Women’s Health League pictured at Ohinemutu, 1937.

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