Eve Jane Magee née White

Ngāti Kahungunu

1904 - 2003

Eve Jane White was born in Wairoa and was educated at Hukarere Māori Girls’ College from She continued her studies at Auckland Training College and taught at Hukarere Māori Girls’ College. Eve went on to marry Victor Magee and for the next thirty years was involved in raising six children while Victor farmed in Kairakau and Carterton. After Victor’s death in 1955, Eve travelled overseas and studied art at Perugia University for three months. While overseas Eve held exhibitions in Rome, London and New York. She returned to New Zealand and began portrait painting. Her portrait of Sir Apirana Ngata hangs at Hukarere Māori Girls’ College. She also painted a portrait of Miss M. Hall, a former principal of Hukarere. Along with her art, Eve was an active musician and played in orchestras and musicals.

As a long-term member of the Māori Women’s Welfare League, Eve attended the Pan Pacific and South-East Asia Women’s Association Annual Conference in 1964 in Tonga as a League delegate. She became the National President of the League in the 1970s and was a member of the Women’s Division and Federated Farmers. In 1977 Eve received the QSM for her contribution to women.

Eve wrote short stories and belonged to the Rotorua Writers’ Club. During the 1970s, she wrote extensively about her school days at Hukarere; various excerpts were included in Hukarere and the Politics of Māori Girls’ Schooling by Kuni Jenkins and Kay Morris Matthews. Eve also conducted research on Turi Carroll in preparation for a book she planned to write. She died in March 2003.

Biographical sources

  • Phone conversation and correspondence with Eileen Woolford, 10 August 1998 and 25 June 2004.
  • "Women’s World." Te Ao Hou 19 (1957): 59.
  • "Artist’s Trip Overseas." Te Ao Hou 56 (1966): 36-39.
  • "Eve Magee." in "He Maimai Aroha." Mana 53 (2003): 13.
  • "Eve Magee." in ‘He Maimai Aroha.’ Mana 53 (Aug.-Sept. 2003): 13.


  • "Visit to Tonga - ‘The Friendly Islands’." Te Ao Hou 49 (1964): 5-6.
  • Magee gives an account of her trip to Tonga as part of the New Zealand contingent attending the tenth annual conference of the Pan Pacific and South-East Asia Women’s Association held in August 1964. The theme of the conference was ‘the role of women in preserving the cultural heritage of mankind’, and Magee writes that the conference examined issues such as the role of women in the home, community and in ‘bringing peace to the world’.
  • "Sunday at Otaki." Te Ao Hou 61 (1967/68): 26-27.
  • This is a description of the visit of Governor General Sir Bernard Fergusson, Lady Fergusson and their son, Geordie, on August 20 [1967?], to a service at Rangiatea Church, Otaki, and to the Raukawa Marae afterwards where the male guests were presented with two beautiful cloaks. Geordie was claimed as a member of all the tribes and was presented with the three traditional tiny baskets.
  • "In Support of the New Zealand Māori Councils Decision in Favour of the 1970 All Black Tour." Te Ao Hou 67 (1969): 54-55.
  • Magee presents a case in favour of the All Blacks going to South Africa in 1970 on the grounds that it would give the young men a once-in-a-lifetime chance of seeing South Africa, it would demonstrate to South Africans people working together irrespective of racial differences and it could ‘be a means of building up the trade relations so badly needed by New Zealand today.’
  • "Tribute to Hine Potaka: Retiring President of the Māori Women’s Welfare League." in "Māori Women’s Welfare League Conference at Rotorua." Te Ao Hou 74 (1973): 26-30.
  • In this tribute to outgoing Māori Women’s Welfare President, Hine Potaka, Eve Magee writes of the emotional and moving farewell to a woman who against her doctor’s orders had attended the conference to ‘explain her reasons for resignation’ and to urge the members to ‘continue the work she was so concerned with’.
  • "Eve White Magee." Hukarere and the Politics of Māori Girls’ Schooling. Kuni Jenkins and Kay Morris Matthews. Hukarere Board of Trustees with Te Whanau o Hukarere. Palmerston North, N.Z.: Dunmore Press, 1995. 52-55.
  • This publication contains a number of quotations by Eve which were part of a manuscript that she wrote about Hukarere in 1975.