Indigenous women are driving and equipping the next generation,

unlock the wave of potential and you will have a multiplying, generational legacy.

NUKU is a movement! Powered by, made by and made for, Indigenous women – mā hine, mō hine, kia hine!

Using a creative, storytelling platform, our non-profit social enterprise amplifies 100 Indigenous female change-makers and leaders through audio podcasts, photography, videography, books, art and live events. They are wāhine doing things differently. Stories of women who do not conform to a ‘mainstream’ image, but dare to carve their own unique portrait, showing us how the world can be shaped by our unique Indigenous voice. Its all about who we are, and not who we’ve been told to be.

NUKU changes the perceptions of Indigenous women and, the way Indigenous women perceive themselves. The impact is the empowerment of Indigenous women to be agents of change in our communities, sectors and society.

NUKU cultivates the opportunity to shape the world we want. 

About the Founder + Creator

Qiane Matata-Sipu

Founder + Creator

Ko Tainui te waka, Te Manukanuka o Hoturoa te moana, Ōruarangi te awa, Puketaapapa te maunga, Ihumātao te papakainga, Makaurau te marae, Te Wai o Hua ki Te Ahiwaru me Te Akitai, Waikato-Tainui, Ngā Puhi, Ngāti Pikiao me Ngāti Kukiairani (Arorangi, Mangaia) ngā iwi.

Ae, my name looks weird and I’ve had a lifetime of mispronunciations but, once we get to know each other a little better you will see it’s pretty easy, say it with me, Key-Ah-Ne!

I grew up in a close knit family, in the Ihumātao papakāinga and Māngere community, surrounded by mana wahine. It was an upbringing that encouraged you to break barriers, there were no limitations.

Storytelling was instilled in me from childhood. At 2, my nan recorded an interview with me. We shared about our day before finishing our kōrero with a range of waiata. That must have influenced my later profession as I grew up to be a journalist, photographer,  visual artist and, social activist. Specialising in topics of identity, culture, land and women, I have spent 13 years honing my craft and building a strong reputation across the sector. I’ve worked with publishing companies here and abroad on books and magazines, exhibited as far afield as China and France, worked with industry leaders like Disney and, regularly speak at symposiums and events. My passion is telling the stories of marginalised people to change the narrative for future generations.

While there’s a few media and photography awards under my belt, my greatest success is my daughter, Haeata te Kapua. I want to help shape the world before her, to influence opportunities for young Indigenous women and, to share collective wisdom so we grow an army of Indigenous female change-makers ready to disrupt and transform our Ao for the better.

NUKU is a kaupapa that has been sitting on my heart and mind for years, a kaupapa to amplify the voices of Indigenous wāhine and contribute to the Indigenous eco-system of social and systemic transformation in Aotearoa.

Most days I am searching for wāhine across the motu (and the funding to support us amplify their voice), speaking at public events, interviewing our #NUKU100 and shooting all their portraits. You’ll find me up late most nights editing, brainstorming, updating social media, sending emails and annoying my team with ridiculously crazy ideas to level up…oh, and trying not to eat the kai for our mahuhiri.


NUKU TEAM

Taylor Aumua, Qiane, Qiane Matata-Sipu, NUKU, NUKU Team

Taylor Aumua

Lead Videographer

Talofa Lava, Ni Sa Bula Vinaka! I’m Taylor, the lead videographer for NUKU. My family are from the beautiful villages of Afega in Samoa and Naveicovatu in Fiji. I have always admired the Pacific mama’s and aunties that raised me and so feel as though it was fate when I met Qiane and fell into this kickass world of mana wāhine and Indigenous storytelling. As a journalist by trade, I’m obsessed with storytelling in its many art forms whether it’s written, video, photography, dance or even my nana creating shapes with her hands and singing songs to me to explain her childhood in Samoa. For me, it’s always been about getting involved in storytelling in any way I know how, to get our stories heard and most importantly, not forgotten. I’m a proud Westie with Bethells beach at my back door so in my spare time you can find me barefoot, in the sand and always with a camera in my hand (disclaimer: this is usually me on NUKU shoots too, it’s my happy place.


Melissa Skelton

Lead H/MU

Ko Maukoro toku maunga, Hokianga Whakapau Karakia toku moana, Ngatokimatawhaorua toku waka, Te Rarawa Kaiwhare ki Hokianga toku iwi, Nukutawhiti toku marae, No Rangi Point ahau, Ko Harema toku whanau.

My friends call me Mel. I’m the Lead Hair and Face maker for NUKU. I bring 20 years experience and the full force of my tupuna into everything I do. The NUKU project puts me hair and face first into a world where my passion for Mareikura is front and centre, with the volume turned up HIGH.
I count myself incredibly blessed to have been born and raised in the colourful and cultured burb of Māngere, where there is no shortage of strong and inspiring wāhine. My world revolves around wahine. I love being one. I love knowing them. I love helping them feel good about themselves. I love everything we have been and all that we are to become.
When I’m not making NUKU wahine magic I am the owner/operator of a boujee little salon in Mt Albert called The Spot. Most days you’ll find me there gas bagging with my awesome clients or being a fierce māmā to two spunky little boys. Safe to say, I’m just your average NUKU wahine out here kickin’ ass!


Julia Espinoza, Qiane, Qiane Matata-Sipu, NUKU, NUKU Team

Julia Espinoza

Production Manager

I’m Julia (pronounced Hu-lia). My parents are both from Chile in Latin America, but I was born and grew up (10,000kms away) in the diverse hustle and bustle of Māngere East. Even though we were so far away from our familia, my brother and I were super lucky to have grown up with our kai, music, books and our mother tongue.

I’m currently working towards becoming a qualified Toiora Whānau practitioner and am the Production Manager for NUKU. Whether it’s replying to emails, editing websites, processing merch orders, booking shoots or being a sassy coffee/hot chocolate fetcher – I love that no two days in the NUKU whare are ever the same.

In my spare time, you can find me on a trade union picket line, fighting for social/climate justice, working alongside rangatahi and generally challenging the status quo however, whenever and wherever. Yep, relentless AF.

I feel super lucky to work in such a positive, uplifting, real-talking team of kickass wāhine on such an epic kaupapa. Changing the narratives and amplifying the voices of wāhine and Indigenous wāhine is so my jam and it’s bloody awesome to be here.