Waiwhero is a smaller book and an easier read but necessarily leaves out a lot of related material. It’s perfect for mums, aunties and nannies to share with their girls. Having said that there is a reason why Sean Ellison translated the work. Men have a role and place in this korero. For our tipuna Waiwhero was a whanau issue not a women’s issue because it assured the continuation of whakapapa lines. Some of my biggest supporters in the mahi have been Māori men. I have heard wonderful stories around the motu about koro’s massaging their moko’s and preparing special kai during this time, solo dads doing the best they can to reclaim empowering tikanga for their girls, as well as the traditions of male midwifery that have been largely severed through the imposition of legislation. It’s important that Māori girls are taught about the mana and tapu of their bodies but it’s just as critical that the boys are taught too so they do not continue to perpetuate patriarchal and colonial attitudes.
Waiwhero – Red Waters
By Naghuia Murphy
Waiwhero: He Whakahirahiratanga o te Ira Wahine: A Celebration of Womanhood is based on Te Awa Atua but has been written specifically for whanau, rangatahi, the education and health sectors. Waiwhero is also bilingual, having been translated by the wonderful Sean Ellison, making it a great reo and kaupapa Māori sexual health resource (a rarity!). Regan Balzer has also illustrated the book and provided beautiful paintings of the cosmological origin stories for menstruation.
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