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  • Sun, 8, Mar, 2020 - 5:00:AM

Local legends talk ‘International Women’s Day’

S-heroes. Aotearoa is abundant with them. But how is International Women’s Day looking through the eyes of our legendary wāhine? I caught up with Stacey Morrison, Kirsty Johnston, Mihingarangi Forbes, and my own editor Lizzie Marvelly, to find out.

Villainesse: What are you celebrating this International Women’s Day?

Stacey Morrison: Te mana o te wāhine – the personal power and innate status of women.

Kirsty Johnston: The Harvey Weinstein verdict. Even though I feel New Zealand's defamation laws are still too strict to allow us our own reckoning with powerful men who abuse women, it's still a landmark decision and a beacon of hope.

Lizzie Marvelly: All of the rights and freedoms we have as a result of many years of campaigning by our tuākana. I’m celebrating those elder sisters who came before us.

Mihingarangi Forbes: Leadership with purpose - those wāhine fighting to save Papatūānuku like my sister leading Parakore, Jacqui Forbes and all the wāhine warriors involved in minimising waste.

My tuākana in broadcasting and te reo revitalisation, I’m giving the pūkana to Stacey Morrison, Annabelle Lee-Mather, Nevak Rogers and Lisa Taouma

What’s something you’re not putting up with anymore?

Stacey: Gaslighting!

Kirsty: The pressure to be a good girl (has anyone else watched the Taylor Swift doco?). I'm sick of making myself more palatable to men - quieter, nicer, calmer, thinner, prettier - sorry guys but there's a lot to be rowdy and angry about as a woman and if I want to do it over wines with my friends and my unshaved legs in your hearing range, too bad.

Lizzie: Rudeness and bitchiness. As a woman, I’ve been socialised to put up with bad behaviour in order to keep the peace. No more. I’m resolving to treat myself with self-respect.

Mihingarangi: Not feeling worthy. Fuck that. What are we waiting for? E tū wāhine mā.

Who has been your inspiration this past year?

Stacey: As she has been for many years, Hinewehi Mohi. This year in particular she has celebrated 20 years since she sang our national anthem in Māori which culminated in our anthem being sung bilingually now. She also created Waiata Anthems which has impacted hugely in terms of the status and enjoyment of te reo Māori

Kirsty: My wonderful friends. I'm at the life stage where all of us have such different challenges - husbands, kids, work, unemployment, singledom - and I love the way that there's no judgment no matter what, but only support. It's almost like all those tropes about women trying to tear each other down... aren't true?

Lizzie: My soon-to-be wife. I may be someone biased, but she’s a thoroughly great human being, and she’s taught me a lot.

Mihingarangi: I’m celebrating the leadership of wāhine such as “The Dames” Tariana Turia, Naida Glavish, Tureiti Moxon and Iritana Tawhiwhirangi who are fighting for the rights of our tamariki daily.

I’m saluting women like midwife Jean Te Huia and Merepeka Raukawa-Tait on the front lines of whānau welfare.

What’s one thing every woman should know?

Stacey: You have a sisterhood, we are in this together.

Kirsty: You are perfect. I heard this from a yoga teacher in Bali last year, and she said it to a young woman struggling with self-image and it sounds trite but it's true. Every day you wake up and your body and your mind carry you through should be tribute to how amazing you are. 

Lizzie: I can’t narrow it down to one! Here are a few: 1. Naproxen is amazing for period pain. 2. Faking orgasms only rewards bad behaviour. 3. Supermarket brand beauty products generally do just as good a job as the ones that cost an arm and a non-essential organ. 

Mihingarangi: We are the first teachers for our children. What we say and do matters.


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  • Kirsty Johnston /
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