Ripeka Evans

Ngāti Ueoneone, Ngā Puhi, Te Aupouri, Ngāti Kahu, Ngāti Porou

1956 -

Ripeka Evans was born in Kawakawa, the fourth child of Frederick and Anne Evans’ eight children. She was brought up in Kaikohe. She was educated at Kaikohe Primary School and Northland College, Kaikohe. She began an arts and law degree at Auckland University in 1974 and was a leading figure in Māori, feminist and human rights issues during this period. She was a Nga Tamatoa activist. In 1978 she went to Cuba for five weeks and attended an international festival of eastern students. When she returned to New Zealand, she left university and worked in a number of political organisations such as Tamatoa, Te Matakite and the Māori women’s movement. In 1979 she studied at the Australian Radio, Film and Television School in Sydney; she has also studied at the Paulo Frere indigenous Peoples Development Institute in Paris under Philippe Fanchette. In 1983 she went to Paris to attend a Structural Analysis Seminar. From 1980-82 she was a Co-ordinator for the Māori Industrial Residential Centre in Auckland during which time she took a leading role in the anti-Springbok tour of 1981. She was a Tutor-Organizer of the Auckland Workers’ Education Association from She worked at the Vanuatu Pacific Centre from She was a Consultant for the Māori Economic Development Commission from 1985-86 and established the MANA Enterprise Scheme during She was Consultant and Project Team Leader of the Employment and Training Team in the Department of Māori Affairs from In 1986, Television New Zealand Director General Julian Mountier appointed her as his Cultural and Planning Assistant; in this capacity she established the Kimihia Broadcasting Training Programme from She is Director of her own company Ripeka Evans and Associates and Iwi Film and TV. She writes drama, comedy, biographies and non-fiction articles for documentaries and magazines. She established the Māori feminist newspaper Kōrerotia Wahine Ma and in 1984 the Pacific Network Journal. She has been a delegate five times at the Nuclear Free and Independent Pacific Conferences. In 1994 she was appointed executive director of Te Mangai Paho and has had other appointments with TVNZ and the Eastern Bay Economic Development Agency. In 2008 Evans was appointed Chief Executive of Te Ohu Rata o Aotearoa [Te ORA] The Māori Doctors Association.

Since 2010 Evans has worked at Manatū Taonga as Pou Ārahi Whakahaere.

Biographical sources

  • Correspondence from Ripeka Evans, Dec 1992.
  • "Māori Agency Takes on TV Funding Role." Onfilm Mar. (1994): 1.
  • 20 Aug. 2010.
  • 8 November 2016


  • "To Find A Place Nearer The Sun." Growing up Māori. Ed. Witi Ihimaera. Auckland, N.Z.: Tandem, 1998. 157-161.
  • Non-fiction

  • "Who Gets The Leftovers?" Mana 1.5 (1977): 8.
  • Written under the name Rebecca Evans
  • "After the Convention’s Over...Reports on the United Women’s Convention 1979." Broadsheet 70 (1979): 20-26. Ripeka’s section: 24.
  • A critique of the 1979 United Women’s Convention which Evans says "actively excluded Māori and Pacific Island women from full and equal participation" despite its "united women’s" label. Evans argues that while white women enjoy the benefits of being part of the dominant white culture, Māori and Pacific Island women confront not only the worst statistics of health, but also sexism and racism. Evans challenges "white women" to "accept their responsibility to change the white institutions and white attitudes that prevail everywhere."
  • "Women Lead at Waitangi 1980." Broadsheet 78 (1980): 4-5.
  • An outline of the events leading up to the 1980 Waitangi Day protest. Evans notes that since 1971 Māori women have taken a crucial role in coordinating discussion and protest over the Treaty. She outlines two different views on the Treaty within Māoridom and discusses some of the issues Māori women face in expressing their views on the marae setting.
  • "Nowhere to Go but Forward." In "Behind the News." Broadsheet 106 (1983): 6-11.
  • In this interview with Ripeka, Grace Robertson shares how she became involved with the Pacific People’s Anti-Nuclear Action Committee. From the 1980 first National Black Women’s Hui which Grace and daughter Sharon attended, PPANAC was formed.
  • "Whites, Women and Waitangi." In "Behind the News." Broadsheet 107 (1983): 6-11.
  • Credited to Rebecca Evans. A discussion on various issues emerging from the 1983 Waitangi Day protests. Evans specifically addresses the role of Pakeha protesters who joined Māori opposition to the Waitangi "celebrations".
  • "Te Hikoi Ki Waitangi." Broadsheet 117 (1984):12-20.
  • Ripeka Evans interviews Tuaiwa Rickard and Joyce Maihi concerning Te Hikoi Ki Waitangi held from 28 January - 6 February 1984. Rickard stated that the goal of the hikoi was "a statement that we have honoured the Treaty and that since the other party has not honoured their part of the bargain then we must stop the celebrations and begin to take steps towards attaining the sovereign rights which we believed and still believe that we have."
  • "Nga Puawaitanga O Nga Wahine." Broadsheet 120 (1984): 20-23. Rpt. in Broadsheet: Twenty Years of Broadsheet Magazine. Comp. and introd. Pat Rosier. Auckland, N.Z.: New Women’s Press, 1992. 76-78.
  • Ripeka Evans speaks to te ropu Tautoko Wahine and their whanau, tangata whenua of the second national Hui Wahine held at Tahuwhakatiki marae in Tauranga Moana in April 1984.
  • "Proposed Māori Women’s Secretariat." Broadsheet 124 (1984): 6-7.
  • Sandra Coney talks with Ripeka Evans concerning a proposal submitted by Mira Szaszy, Te Aroha McDowell and Ripeka Evans to establish an autonomous Māori Women’s Secretariat within the Ministry of Women’s Affairs. Evans states that such a secretariat would be Māori operated and led and would be composed of women selected by the eight Māori Land Court Districts. Its purpose would be to recognise and affirm the status of Māori women and to address the specific needs that Māori women face.
  • "GST Will We Survive?" Broadsheet 130 (1985): 13-24. Evans is interviewed by Sandra Coney on p.17.
  • Co-authors Doreen Suddens and Sandra Coney. Looks at the effect of GST on Māori families who are over-represented in low income workers in this country. Notes the GST taxing on staple items such as food and clothing.
  • "Māori Economic Development." Race Gender Class 4 (1986): 18-20.
  • Evans gives a background to the formation and organisation of the Māori Economic Development Commission. Its three main components are: "Māori control of resources, for the funding of Māori objectives, on Māori terms." The recipients of the resourcing must employ Māori people and they must have a policy of eventually moving away from subsidies in the long-term. She criticises the whole dependence mentality which has made many bound to benefits. She exposes the myths of equality of opportunity. The Scheme aims to extract a proportionable amount of the country’s resources and distribute it through Māori systems such as the Board of Māori Affairs, tribal trust boards, land advisory committees and tribal regional authorities. She makes the link that without a strong economic base it is very difficult to proceed further as a people.
  • "Māori Television." Race Gender Class 9/10 (1989): 16-23.
  • "Rebecca Evans." Broadsheet 103 (1982): 12-17. An extract rpt as "From The Māori Strategy." Te Ao Mārama: Regaining Aotearoa: Māori Writers Speak Out. Comp. and ed. Witi Ihimaera. Contributing ed. Haare Williams, Irihapeti Ramsden and D. S. Long. Vol. 2: He Whakaatanga O Te Ao: The Reality. Auckland, N.Z.: Reed, 1993. 91-94.
  • An autobiographical account that contrasts the nurturing Rebecca received in taha Māori from her grandmother with the isolation and barrenness she felt in the university environment. Rebecca traces her involvement with Nga Tamatoa and its struggles with gender. She also articulates the steps that led her to taking positions of leadership on anti-tour demonstrations. She also discusses her involvement in Māori women’s hui and in the struggles of other oppressed indigenous groups. She concludes by giving an account of the role of Māori women during the Springbok Tour, noting that it was Māori women who took much of the brunt of being penalised for their anti-Tour protests.
  • "The Negation Of Powerlessness: Māori Feminism, A Perspective." [Part 1 of a 2 part series] Kahungunu 1993: 74-75. [Part 2 of a 2 part series] Kahungunu 1993: 88-89. Rpt. in Hecate: an Interdisciplinary Journal of Women’s Liberation 20.2 (1994): 53-65.
  • Presented at Auckland University’s Winter Lecture Series, 10 Aug. 1993.
  • "Māori Women as Agents of Change." Te Pua 3.1 (1994): 31-36.
  • This paper was presented to the Unifem Suffrage Conference in Auckland on 13 November 1993. Evans speaks of Māori women as agents of change, and particularly notes the need for Māori women to exert change in the arena of political power. She examines the history of Māori women’s political involvement since the time of Māori women’s suffragist Meri Mangakahia. She also discusses the role of Māori women in the 20th century and outlines the unique contribution of Māori feminists in the 1970s and 1980s. Evans notes that in Māori Economic development since 1985, the "power and decision-making process of these organisations is in the hands of a small oligarchic menagerie of Māori men, businessmen, politicians". She also states that Māori women are "on the outside looking in".
  • Other

  • "Ripeka Evans: Analyse History and Get A Whole Vision of Society." Interview with Margaret Roth. Women’s Studies Journal 2.1 (1985): 2-14.
  • Evans discusses with Roth her involvement in Tamatoa, the Māori language petition, her upbringing in the Hokianga, her trip to Cuba in 1978, her involvement with Māori women’s issues and her experiences tutoring classes at Auckland, N.Z. WEA.
  • Webber, Alison. "The Changing Times of Agent Evans." N.Z. Listener 19 Mar. 1988: 16-18.
  • "Māori Television." Race Gender Class 9/10 (1989): 16-23.
  • In this interview Ripeka describes how in her position as Cultural and Planning Assistant to the Chief Executive in TVNZ she pushed for increased hours of Māori content programmes and Māori staffing. The success of the Kimihia training programme is noted and Ripeka contends that Māori training and working in TVNZ is a stepping stone for a future Māori television channel. She asserts that "had the Treaty been honoured, we would now see a full range of Māori broadcasting services."
  • Poetry

  • "When I Look at You" [first line] Broadsheet 78 (1980): 5.
  • In this poem the speaker berates the seemingly passive and compliant stance of contemporary Māori men and contrasts this with the passion of Hone Heke in chopping down the flagstaff – "[s]ymbol of White imperialism!" The speaker concludes by asserting the strong united stance of Māori women.
  • Reviews

  • "In A Feminist Sense." Rev. of Utu, directed by Geoff Murphy, Utu Productions. Broadsheet 109 (1983): 32.
  • In this review of Utu directed by Geoff Murphy, Evans contends that the film perpetuates Pakeha myths about the Māori and distorts the real meaning of utu.
  • "In A Feminist Sense." Rev. of Wahine Toa by Robyn Kahukiwa and Patricia Grace. Broadsheet 120 (1984): 42.


  • Booth, Pat. "Essay: Voyages In A Strange Land: 40 Years Of Race Relations." North and South Dec. 1987: 118-130.
  • Coney, Sandra "Women Against The Tour." Broadsheet 92 (1981): 8-11.
  • Coney interviews Donna Awatere, Rebecca Evans, Mereana Pitman and Kitch Cuthbert.
  • Coney, Sandra. "Evans Attacked." Broadsheet 100 (1982): 6-7.
  • Coney, Sandra. "Proposed Māori Women’s Secretariat." Broadsheet 124 (1984): 6-7.
  • Hubbard, Anthony. "The Reformed Revolutionary." Sunday Star Times 21 Oct. 2007: A20.
  • Kopae, Dianne. "Business Woman Labour Hopeful." Daily Post 27 Oct. 1998: 16.
  • McDowell, Te Aroha. "The Great Human Rights Shoe Sale." Broadsheet 130 (1985): 38-40.
  • Morrison, Alistair. "Ripeka Evans has Key Job." Dominion. No further details. Rpt. in Tu Tangata 33 (1986/87): 38.
  • A discussion with Evans on her appointment as Julian Mounter’s cultural and planning assistant in TVNZ in 1987.
  • "Ripeka To Head TRW." Kia Hiwa Ra: National Māori Newspaper Jan./Feb. 1994: 1616.
  • Vincent, Rosemary. "Ripeka Evans: Eight Years on a New Image." New Zealand Woman’s Weekly 12 Jan. 1987: 10-11.
  • Erai, Michelle, Fuli, Everdina, Irwin, Kathie and Wilcox, Lenaire. Māori Women: An Annotated Bibliography. [Wellington, N.Z.]: Michelle Erai, Everdina Fuli, Kathie Irwin and Lenaire Wilcox, 1991. 8, 29.