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New Book Celebrating Indigenous Women Longlisted For Major Award

NUKU: Stories of 100 Indigenous Women is an influential new book celebrating the diversity, strength, knowledge and lived experiences of wāhine taketake. Today it was announced that the pukapuka has been longlisted for the Booksellers Aotearoa New Zealand Award for Illustrated Non-Fiction as part of the Ockham NZ Book Awards.

This announcement comes off the tails of a sold-out book tour. Having already sold 3,000 copies since it came out in December 2021, a reprint has been ordered to meet demand.

The book's author, photographer and NUKU creator, Qiane Matata-Sipu, is also a Finalist in the Culture & Arts category of the NZ Women of Influence Awards. She says the piling accolades are overwhelming for a body of work that has been such a "labour of love".

"We started NUKU with nothing but a dream to amplify the voices of Indigenous wāhine and change the narrative for our future generations. For four-plus years we have worked incredibly hard, alongside our full-time jobs and whānau commitments, to bring these voices to the fore through a podcast series and book. In a deliberate example of mana motuhake, we have championed story sovereignty and chose to self-publish," she says.

"There has been significant sweat equity invested in this kaupapa. Seeing this mahi and the voices of these powerful wāhine toa recognised at this level is a beautiful acknowledgement of this hard work."

Reputedly the first of its kind for Aotearoa (a book made by and completely about Indigenous women), NUKU: Stories of 100 Indigenous Women features an impressive mix of local unsung heroes and globally recognised names. The wāhine featured range in age from just fourteen years old to mid-seventies and represent Māori, Moriori, Janajati (India), Acolhua (Mexico), Wiradjuri (Aboriginal), Sāmoan, Cook Islands, Niuean, Tongan, Fijian, Papua New Guinean and Kanaka Maoli (Hawaii) heritage.

These women work across diverse sectors including social services, environment, entrepreneurship, media, arts, health, sport, academia, gender equality and advocacy for Indigenous land rights, systems and practices.

“This pukapuka is a powerful and important snapshot of Indigenous wahine today. Through wide-ranging voices this ambitious social documentary allows readers to obtain authentic insight into life as an Indigenous woman like never before. NUKU supports wāhine to transform thinking, transfer and gain knowledge across generations and uncover layers to cultural identity," says Matata-Sipu.

"We have set out to redefine what success looks like for us. It moves away from the stereotypes of the Western Patriarchal gaze and proudly centres Indigenous wāhine voices; telling us who they are, not who they've been told to be. It's a reminder to ourselves and a lesson to our tamariki and mokopuna of the power of our Indigeneity, the strength of our collective wisdom, and the positive impact of our actions when we stand in our authenticity.

"I truly believe Indigenous women are leading the change in our world; thriving while still healing, creating significant impact while still juggling so much of the load."

Making a number of local bestseller lists over the summer, NUKU: Stories of 100 Indigenous Women has also attracted the attention of customers internationally with a growing number of orders being made in Australia, Hong Kong, the UK and the United States.


NUKU is a creative and social impact storytelling movement profiling 100 Indigenous wāhine across Aotearoa through portrait photography, audio podcast, moving images, art exhibitions, live events and a book. NUKU was created in 2018 by journalist, photographer and social activist Qiane Matata-Sipu (Te Waiohua ki Te Ahiwaru me Te Ākitai, Waikato, Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Pikiao and the Cook Islands) after the loss of her grandmother and a lengthy battle with infertility.

The mission of NUKU is to change the narrative for future generations by amplifying the voices of Indigenous women, in turn changing the perception of Indigenous women and empowering Indigenous women to change the way they perceive themselves. NUKU comes at a poignant time in history as nations begin to face their colonial pasts, and Indigenous stories, languages and values become more visible.

View the NUKU100 wāhine:

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