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Conversations Documentary Tells Untold Stories of Women

The Conversations documentary series celebrates six inspirational Māori and Pasifika women who have made a difference to other people's lives.

Funded by NZ On Air and produced by a Māori, Pacific and Pākehā team (Tawera Production and E-Tangata), the series has debuted on the NZ Herald. Episodes have been released daily since March 2 and tomorrow, on International Women’s Day, they will be re-released in full here.

Each episode features one woman's story. Some are household names and others you may not have heard of, but each one is working for the wellbeing of their communities and for a fairer, more united New Zealand.

While New Zealand was proudly the first country to give women the vote, 125 years later women are still fighting for real, meaningful equality.The fight for equal pay, and for freedom from sexual harassment, abuse and violence continues. Māori and Pasifika women, who also can face the systemic racism as well as sexism, have an even greater struggle.

Māori and Pacific women have the highest rates of unemployment and the lowest rates of pay. Māori women make up 63 percent of the female prison population. The problems are real and urgent, and the women featured in Conversations are doing their best to remedy them.

Director Simone Kaho said working on this documentary had an immense impact on her.

“It changed me, philosophically and spiritually, to come in contact with these women. Thinking about it now, I feel excitement and hope moving through me, a twisting, silvery feeling like an underwater current. I’ll be musing about something I find hard or uncomfortable, and then something one of the women has said will pop into my head.”

Premium Content Editor Miriyana Alexander said the Herald was delighted to partner with E-Tangata to tell these important stories.

"We have made much progress in New Zealand, but there are still real and significant issues facing women in the battle for meaningful equality. The Maori and Pasifika women featured in these videos are inspiring, and the work they are doing in their communities is vital to ensure that fight will not be in vain."

Conversations aims to tell the stories that show these women and communities as they really are. Statistics and headlines cannot covey the spirit, warmth and hope that wahine all over New Zealand share.

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