Te Aroha Tuarua (Lavinia) McDowell


Te Aroha McDowell wrote of herself: "I was born in the late 50s in Auckland. 1977/78 I went to Ireland in search of my Pakeha roots and spent some time interned in Armagh Women’s Prison as a result of my open support for the indigenous struggle there. On my return to Aotearoa I discovered my ‘Māoriness’, and became involved with the Waitangi Action Komiti in Since then I have spent most of my life as an activist in anti-racist, feminist and socialist struggles, working with Te Roopu Rawakore o Aotearoa until late 1988. I live in Northland. My writing includes co-authorship of the musical Maranga Mai (1979-1981), my novel set in Northern Ireland (The Mountain Song), and ‘Hamilton the 25th Day’ in Arms Linked - Women Against the Tour (1982)." Te Aroha and five other Māori women made up Te Hono Ki Mangere Work Trust.

Biographical sources

  • Broadsheet 100 (1982)
  • New Women’s Fiction 4. Ed. Wendy Harrex and Lynsey Ferrari. Auckland, N.Z.: New Women’s Press, 1991. 166-167.


  • "An Unwelcome Presence." New Women’s Fiction 4. Ed. Wendy Harrex and Lynsey Ferrari. Auckland, N.Z.: New Women’s Press, 1991. 83-90.
  • A story of how a local community stood against the proposed military base in their district of Rerewai following the lead of young radical Mihi.
  • Non-fiction

  • "Te Hono Ki Mangere: An Island of Māori Woman-Power." Broadsheet 100 (June 1982): 32-33. Rpt. in Broadsheet: Twenty Years of Broadsheet Magazine. Selected and introduced by Pat Rosier. Auckland, N.Z.: New Women’s Press, 1992. 59-62.
  • McDowell talks to Diane Quin about the importance of economic independence and supportive working environments for Māori women, and provides a history of the formation of Te Hono Ki Mangere Work Trust which makes Perendale pure wool jerseys incorporating Māori motifs.
  • "Tokenism in the Ministry." Broadsheet 128 (1985): 28-30.
  • A criticism of the Ministry of Women’s Affairs response to a proposed Māori women’s secretariat which was submitted by McDowell, Mira Szaszy and Ripeka Evans. McDowell accuses the ministry’s suggested Māori desk as tokenistic and she gives a critique of Pakeha women attempting to restrict Māori women’s access to ‘important resources and positions of decision making power ensconced in pakeha society.’ She also asserts that the rewriting of history by women still excludes the reality and history of Māori women and to counterbalance this she recounts some of the contributions of Māori women in New Zealand’s history. See Broadsheet 124 (Nov 1984) for an outline of the proposals of the Māori Women’s Secretariat.
  • "Publishing Māori Material" Broadsheet 129 (1985): 22-23.
  • Writing on literary colonisation.
  • "The Great Human Rights Shoe Sale." Broadsheet 130 (1985): 38-40.
  • McDowell asserts that both the Race Relations Office and the Human Rights Commission fail to validate the position of Māori women and she sees a need for a forum where the distinctive features of Māori women can be asserted. When McDowell, Mira Szaszy and Ripeka Evans attended the Human Rights Commission Convention for the Elimination of Discrimination against Women McDowell felt that its monocultural structure offered no liberation to Māori women with the only reference to Māori women being the issue of women’s speaking rights.
  • Other

  • "South Auckland Māori Women." Broadsheet 86 (1981): 2.
  • Reviews

  • "In A Feminist Sense." Rev. ofWhina, by Michael King. Broadsheet 117 (1984): 44-45.


  • "Te Aroha Tuarua McDowell." Daily Post 13 Nov. 1993: 18.
  • 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. 18.