Rawinia Mere-te-Uia White

Ngāti Awa

Rawinia is of Māori, Scottish and English descent and grew up in an almost totally Pakeha environment. Although she was always very aware of the Māori within her, it was not until age 30 or so that she actively pursued her journey for reo, tikanga and iwitanga. She writes to share her journey.

Biographical sources

  • Correspondence and phone conversation with Rawinia White: 3 Dec. 1992, 21 Feb. 1993, 6 and 18 Sept. 1998.

    Children's literature

  • "Mahara." Na Donna McKenna nga pikitia [Illus. Donna KcKenna]. Te Wharekura 37. Wellington, N.Z.: Learning Media, Ministry of Education, 1992. 12-15.
  • Māori language story.
  • "He Kōrero mo ngā Wētā." Na Mavis Lessiter nga whakaahua [Illus. Mavis Lessiter]. Te Tautoko 18. Wellington, N.Z.: Learning Media, Ministry of Education, 1993. 24-25.
  • Māori language article on the Wetā.
  • Fiction

  • "The Return." New Women’s Fiction. Ed. Aorewa McLeod. Auckland, N.Z.: New Women’s Press, 1988. 121-122. Rpt. in Te Ao Mārama: Contemporary Māori Writing. Comp. and ed. Witi Ihimaera. Contributing ed. Haare Williams, Irihapeti Ramsden and D. S. Long. Vol. 5: Te Tōrino: The Spiral. Auckland, N.Z.: Reed, 1996. 216-217.
  • The narrator speaks of her hesitant return to her tribal land - uncertain of her Māori identity but unmistakenly drawn back to connect with a part of her identity that her mother had lost.
  • "The Beginning." Me and Marilyn Monroe. Ed. Cathie Dunsford. Wellington, N.Z.: Daphne Brasell, 1993. 139-140.
  • In this story the speaker presents a picture of her childhood in which she was caught between the worlds of the Pakeha and the Māori. The surrounding landscape portrays this dichotomy and is likened to a female body, part of which has been forced to yield, is wounded and ‘not quite clothed’ while further back are the ‘still cloaked ranges’ with their ‘silent, shaded wisdom’. While the speaker’s sister studies Latin for School Certificate, the speaker knew she could never travel that road and tried instead to make inroads into the Māori world. The story ends with the speaker’s sense of regret at what she did not experience in her childhood.
  • Music

  • "Tu tonu nei." Pukaea Feb. 1994: 21.
  • This waiata tangi is about living away from one’s iwi.