War opened door to future for wahine Maori

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An Otago University researcher says the role of Māori women in the Second World War has been an overlooked part of history despite its importance to some of the social changes that followed.

Associate Professor Angela Wanhalla will tonight deliver the annual Keith Sinclair Lecture at the University of Auckland with the title A Real War Job at Last: Mobilising Māori women.

Her research grew out of an earlier collaborative project looking at the impact of American servicemen in the South Pacific Command, which included New Zealand, where she was frustrated at the contemporary framing of Māori women.

She discovered many wāhine Māori were the first in their families to move into urban areas because they were manpowered, and there is also the little-known story of Māori women in uniform.

“I’m really interested in exploring that story a bit more because I think that’s critical to allowing Māori women to get access to trade training and potentially going into the professions so the war has a really important part to play in the the potential futures and future pathways that Māori women go down,” Associate Professor Wanhalla says.

The lecture starts a 6pm in the University of Auckland Library building and registration through Eventbrite is needed.


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