Whina Cooper

Te Rarawa

1895 - 1994

Whina Cooper was born in Te Karaka, the daughter of Heremia te Waka and Kare Pauro Kawatihi. She was educated at Whakarapa Native School and St Joseph’s Māori Girls’ College. She was elected the first president of the Māori Women’s Welfare League in 1951 and received an MBE in 1953, and CBE in 1974. In 1975 Whina led the Māori Land march from Te Hapua to Wellington. In 1981 she was made a DBE and in 1991 she was appointed a member of the Order of New Zealand. She died on 26 March 1994.

Biographical sources

  • King, Michael. “Cooper, Whina 1895-1994.” Dictionary of New Zealand Biography, updated 22 June 2007 URL: http//www.dnzb.govt.nz


  • "Joseph." Te Ara Hou. Christchurch, N.Z.: Christchurch College of Education, 1990. Rpt. in Te Ao Mārama: Contemporary Māori Writing for Children. Comp. and ed. Witi Ihimaera. Contributing ed. Haare Williams, Irihapeti Ramsden and D. S. Long. Vol. 4: Te Ara o Te Hau: The Path of the Wind. Auckland, N.Z.: Reed, 1994. 48.
  • Whina discusses aspects of her birth, name and childhood relationship with her father.