NUKU is a multi-media series profiling 100 kickass indigenous wahine doing things differently through audio podcasts, creative portrait imagery and, at the end, a book and exhibition.

Heard above the noise of the river and the clothes being washed was the sound of women’s voices sharing their stories. This same sound has flowed in kitchens and around endless cups of tea and glasses of wine, the joys and sorrows, and questions of tomorrow. As our world has changed this flow of sharing has decreased. NUKU is a resurgence of that flow – the sharing of collective wisdom again. It is the river bank, the kitchen table and the coffee pot.  
NUKU is derived from Papatūānuku and the word represents the ultimate female essence, a source of collective wisdom.  It utilises multimedia platforms to share the stories of kickass indigenous wahine doing things differently. Stories of women who do not conform to a ‘mainstream’ image, but dare to carve their own unique portrait. A picture not to be copied, but to inspire and remind others that being true to yourself is where rewarding success can be found. 
Indigenous storytelling started in the stars; but like a night without stars there was a blank space where our stories should have been shining. Having met so many phenomenal women over the years, each with an amazing story to tell, there was a drive to share their journeys. 
NUKU is a modern expression of that traditional tool of storytelling. It is powerful and has the ability to transform thinking, transfer knowledge across generations and uncover layers to cultural identity. It serves to connect, collaborate, guide, entertain and inspire.
NUKU invites indigenous wahine to look at the world through a different lens, a personal lens, a cultural lens, a lens made by and made for indigenous women – mā hine, mō hine, kia hine!


About the Artist

Qiane Matata-Sipu

Founder and 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, Waikato-Tainui, Ngā Puhi me Ngāti Kukiairani (Arorangi, Mangaia) ngā iwi.

Yep, 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 its pretty easy, say it with me, Key-Ah-Ne! (Wait ’till you hear my daughter’s name!)

My story starts at 2 years old, with my nan. There is a tape recording of us interviewing each other, sharing about our day, before finishing our kōrero with a range of waiata.

I come from a long line of strong indigenous wahine and the art of storytelling was instilled in me from childhood. As I grew up, I turned it into a profession as a journalist, photographer, social documentary visual artist and activist.

NUKU is a kaupapa that has been sitting on my heart and mind for years, a creative and social impact storytelling project to amplify the voices of indigenous wahine. A platform to change the narrative.

Most of the interviews take place in my home and, I’m also behind the camera shooting all the portraits of these magnificent wahine. You’ll find me up late most nights editing audio and images, scheduling social media, writing call sheets, sending emails, annoying my team with ridiculously crazy ideas to level up, and, trying not to eat the kai for our manuhiri.