Deirdre Nehua

Ngāti Wai, Ngāti Hau, Ngāti Ruanui

1950 -

Dierdre Nehua was born in Whangarei, raised in Whangaruru and educated in Whangarei. Dierdre is a traditional Māori healer and for the last fifteen years has gone through training as a healer and a matakite. She is a Māori nationalist and a member of Te Ahi Kaa. Dierdre was the first woman on the Whangarei Trades Council and was the Māori woman’s representative on the Federation of Labour’s Trades Council Women’s Committee. She is a founding member of Te Runanga o Nga Kaimahi Māori o Aotearoa, the first Māori trade union in New Zealand. She helped set up the first Hui Wahine in Auckland. Dierdre has been involved in the Waitangi Action Committee, Hikoi ki Waitangi, Māori Land March, was part of the occupation at Bastion Point, and was one of the people who went on at the very beginning of the occupation of Pakaitore. She is an avid supporter of Māori rights and Māori nationalism, and strongly believes that Aotearoa is Māori land. She set up the first Māori women’s refuge in Whangarei in the 1970s. She is an enthusiastic supporter of kohanga reo and kura kaupapa Māori. Her life is centred around being with her husband, children and mokopuna. Dierdre is currently the Auckland Regional manager and Manager of Māori Services for the Royal New Zealand Foundation for the Blind. She has written poetry and short stories that have been published in various magazines, and has written non-fiction articles. She is currently writing two novels and a story book for a painting by Robyn Kahukiwa.

Biographical sources

  • Phone conversation with Deirdre Nehua 18 August 1998.
  • Toi Wāhine: The Worlds of Māori Women. Illus. Robyn Kahukiwa. Ed. Kathie Irwin and Irihapeti Ramsden. Auckland, N.Z.: Penguin, 1995. 139.


  • "Three Women." Growing up Māori. Ed. Witi Ihimaera. Auckland, N.Z.: Tandem, 1998. 88-97.
  • Non-fiction

  • "Vote Tino Rangātiratanga." Broadsheet 181 (Sept. 1990): 25.
  • Nehua writes of Tino Rangātiratanga as an alternative to the current electoral system, which, she argues, is ‘simply a way to keep the white majority in power in this country’.
  • "Know the Roots that Hold You." Toi Wāhine: The Worlds of Māori Women. Illus. Robyn Kahukiwa. Ed. Kathie Irwin and Irihapeti Ramsden. Auckland, N.Z.: Penguin Books, 1995. 23-28. 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 Torino: The Spiral. Auckland, N.Z.: Reed, 1996. 175-181.
  • An evocative portrayal of the rich heritage instilled in the speaker by her grandmother.
  • "Deidre Nehua." Takaparawhau: The People’s Story: 1998 Bastion Point 20 Year Commemoration Book. Ed. Sharon Hawke. Auckland, N.Z.: Moko, 1998. 68-70.
  • One of 34 accounts and recollections of the Bastion Point occupation.