Celebrating the life of Dame Whina Cooper
Minister for Māori Crown Relations: Te Arawhiti Kelvin Davis today joined Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, the Cooper whānau, Waipuna Marae and the Panguru community to unveil a commemorative statue of the late Dame Whina Cooper.
The statue recreates the iconic photo of Dame Whina walking hand in hand with her mokopuna Irenee Cooper, at the start of the Land March on 14 September 1975.
“This day for Dame Whina is long overdue. We’ve been working with the Cooper whānau and the Waipuna Marae Trust on this kaupapa for a long time, so it’s fantastic to be here recognising Dame Whina and the vast contribution she made through her life to Aotearoa and Māori,” Kelvin Davis said.
“Dame Whina paved the way for not only her own people, but an entire nation. Her contribution to New Zealand - particularly the Māori Crown relationship through the 1975 Land March - is an indelible part of our history.
“As we unveil this statue, the comparative lack of monuments to prominent New Zealand women and prominent Māori, is a timely reminder that there’s still much to do to recognise the status and contribution of women and Māori in our society.
“This statue celebrates Dame Whina’s leadership, rangatiratanga and mana, and will serve as an ongoing testament to the legacy she left for all New Zealanders,” Kelvin Davis said.
The unveiling of the statue forms part of this year’s commemorations for Waitangi.
Notes to Editors
- The statue was funded through Te Arawhiti’s Whai Hononga – Supporting significant Māori Crown events programme, which aims to strengthen a shared national identity that recognises, values and encourages strong partnerships between Māori and the Crown.