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Mural of Taranaki woman passionate about the revival of te reo Māori at heart celebrations

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Mural of Taranaki woman passionate about the revival of te reo Māori at heart celebrations

A mural of Hana Te Hemara (Te Atiawa, Ngāti Raukawa, Ngāi Tahu), by renowned artist Mr G will be painted on the exterior of NPDC’s Puke Ariki Library over the next few weeks as part of the I Am Hana project.

I am Hana is a series of activities to mark 50 years since Ngā Tamatoa, of which Hana was a founding member, presented a petition the Māori language petition to Parliament.

Te Kotahitanga o Te Atiawa Chair Liana Poutu (Te Atiawa, Taranaki, Ngāti Maniapoto), is honoured Ngā Tamatoa chose Ngā Motu to commemorate this important milestone.

“Hana Te Hemara epitomised what it is to be a strong and tenacious woman. Her courage, along with so many from Ngā Tamatoa during the 1970s, paved the way for the thriving kura kaupapa, kōhanga reo and te reo Māori movement we have today,” says Liana.

Hana Te Hemara

“We are unashamedly proud of Aunty Hana as a leader, a mother, a fashionista and a proud Puketapu wāhine. E kaha tautoko ana mātou I tēnei kaupapa mīharo, ka tika!”

Co-chair of NPDC’s Te Huinga Taumata, Howie Tamati (Te Atiawa, Ngāti Mutunga, Ngāi Tahu), reflects on how Ngā Tamatoa and their legacy has shaped the resurgence of te reo Māori in Aotearoa.

“I am proud that my moko live in a time when they hear te reo Māori as part of their everyday lives, on the news, on social media. It is a testament to the mahi of Ngā Tamatoa and Hana Te Hemara. The I am Hana project is a wonderful way to honour her and the group’s commitment to the survival of our language,” says Howie.

“It’s an honour to be part of bringing Hana’s story to life in this way for Taranaki residents and I am sure the mural on the Puke Ariki Library building is going to look stunning, be a real drawcard and an immense source of pride for her iwi, hapū and whānau.”

I am Hana is proudly partnered by Te Kotahitanga o Te Atiawa, Ngāti Te Whiti, Puketapu, New Plymouth District Council, Creative New Zealand, Te Taura Whiri, Te Puni Kōkiri, Tui Ora, Venture Taranaki, Te Mātāwai, Toi Foundation, Spark and Nikau Construction.

What’s on:

  • From 30 August for two weeks, renowned artist Mr G Hoete will be working on a mural of Hana Te Hemara on the side of NPDC’s Puke Ariki Library – the largest piece he has worked on.
  • A photographic exhibition of Ngā Tamatoa by John Miller located in NPDC’s TSB Showplace Alexandra Room Opening hours 9-12pm, 2-4pm 8-14 September (closed Sunday).  
  • A public panel discussion with Ngā Tamatoa members at TSB Showplace’s Alexandra Room from Wednesday 14 September 6.30pm – 8.30pm. Seats are limited. Register your interest at
  • Listen to the life and times of Hana at Puke Ariki Library. Enjoy audio recordings of Hana Te Hemara at the Puke Ariki Listening Post from 1-15 September.
  • I am Hana Street Party 15 September from 3.30pm to 7.30pm. To celebrate I am Hana events and the completion of Mr G’s mural of Hana Te Hemara, join us by the Puke Ariki Library on King Street for entertainment, food trucks and meet some of the Ngā Tamatoa members.

More information on Hana, Ngā Tamatoa and the programme of events surrounding this project can be found on