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Ataria Sharman

Ngāpuhi, Tapuika

Ataria Sharman (Ngāpuhi, Tapuika) is a writer and editor. Ataria has a Master of Arts and spent a year
researching mana wahine and atua wāhine and interviewing Māori women about their experiences with
atua wāhine. Ataria is the creator of Awa Wahine, a platform dedicated to celebrating and promoting the
voices of wāhine Māori. Huia published her children’s novel Hine and the Tohunga Portal in

2021, a finalist in the 2022 New Zealand Book Awards for Youth and Children.

Indigenous sexuality and colonial ideologies

I disliked my breasts growing up, and I had no love for my īkura. Sex felt taboo and dirty. I was ashamed I’d been with a woman before. Learning more about the atua wāhine and pre-colonial Māori women’s menstruation changed this. I realised that my thinking was the consequence of colonisation, mainly European thought influenced by Christian teachings. Reading the narratives of the atua wāhine helped me to reclaim an understanding of the inherent sexuality and sexual power of myself as a wāhine Māori. In this talk, I will discuss the inherent sexuality of the pūrākau of the atua wāhine and how they can communicate meanings of unrestrained sexuality and perhaps assist in unlearning moral codes and judgments I suggest are a hangover of a colonial past.

Ataria Sharman
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