Celebrating mana wāhine, wāhine toa, and the divine feminine.
On International Women’s Day, we celebrate the women who inspire us and shape our lives. They’re our whānau members, business leaders, politicians, activists, artists, and our friends.
This global celebration of women is also an opportunity to honour our spiritual connection to the divine feminine. Goddesses, immortal mothers, and even our own earth’s life force can be experienced through divine feminine energy.
Ancestral knowledge and stories of divine feminine figures from all cultures have been passed through the generations, channelling the wairua of mana wahine to inspire change around the world.
The spirit of International Women’s Day, this celebration of wāhine and the divine feminine.
As we explore the works that echo the meaning of International Women’s Day, we hope you can be inspired and encouraged to embrace the divine feminine that exists within all of us.
Gaia Supreme Goddess
The name ‘Gaia’ evokes the essence of the divine feminine – the hypothesis describing our earth’s complex interconnectedness, and the ancient Greek goddess of the earth.
As the tulip unfolds, cradling our planet in its centre, Gaia, Supreme Goddess reminds us of mysterious, divine, maternal energy, and called to protect the natural environment that is so delicate yet so powerful.
Dominion of Pouakai
Rising like a phoenix in front of the legendary pink and white terraces, this strikingly beautiful image fuses Aotearoa’s magnificent Pouakai eagle with the wāhine toa (strong women) from Māori myth.
Dominion of Pouakai captures the fearsome wingspan of the Pouakai, and we witness the liberation and transformation of Papatuanuku after her painful separation from Ranginui to create the life and light that allowed all living creatures to be created.
This painting speaks to the transformative power of the divine feminine, and the ability to resurrect oneself after heartbreak.
Heavenly Bodies depicts Hine-te-iwaiwa, the goddess of weaving, childbirth, and the moon’s cycles. She is also Papatuanuku, the clay from which the first wāhine was formed and brought to life by Tane.
This guardian-like image connects the immortal with mortal, as the face of wahine toa is conjured from 19th-century photographs of Māori and adorned with precious symbols that honour one’s whakapapa – moko kauae, pounamu, and native bird feathers.
From left to right: Gaia Supreme Goddess, Dominion of Pouakai, Heavenly Bodies
The Māori term for goddess, Atua Wāhine emerges from the darkness, her moko kauae glinting through the shadows.
With an unplanned resemblance to Dame Whina Cooper, a celebrated Māori land activist and mana wāhine, Atua Wāhine evokes the protective power of kaitiakitanga whilst bridging the gap between cosmic and earthly feminine energy.
The proud figure of Sophia wears Victorian dress, moko kauae, and carries a sword. Symbols and references to many cultures intersect within this piece, yet Sophia stands tall without faltering.
Sophia, the Gnostic goddess of wisdom, stands composed against conflicting voices, depicting the difficulty of navigating the challenging waters of tikanga, cultural norms, and rigid doctrine.
This is an image of wahine toa, and of showing strength, defiance, and composure in the face of uncertainty and chaos.
Rose of the Cross
Divine feminine love flows from Rose of the Cross, as symbols from Christian, Māori, and European culture come together to represent the artist’s heritage – even down to the Celtic freckles.
With her kind expression, this cross-dimensional, cross-cultural Mary Magdalene figure shows us that compassion is powerful.
From left to right: Atua Wāhine, Sophia, Rose of the Cross
Queen of Raa
Mana wāhine and the divine feminine are celebrated with Māori and Egyptian cosmology, as rich symbols of whakapapa, ascension, and nourishment are interwoven through the Queen of Raa.
Wearing a golden crown featuring the rearing cobra and cow’s horns that signify Egyptian power and divinity, the Queen of Raa also wears feathers from the kārearea. This honours the way the Egyptian goddess Isis is depicted with a hawk’s wings, strengthening this theme of ascension.
Whilst the sun is typically a masculine symbol, this feminine depiction reinforces Ra’s life-giving properties.
Magdalena depicts a Māori woman, with her rich red stylised korowai and heitiki pounamu pendant. A halo of divinity illuminates the painting.
Magdalena is a cross-cultural goddess. She is Gnostic Christianity's Sophia and Mary Magdalene, ancient Egypt's Isis, and Maori myth's Hine-tītama.
This piece is rich with symbols of the divine feminine from across many cultures, acknowledging the atua wāhine and the ever-present linkage to a masculine figure – Sophia with Christ, Mary with Jesus, Isis with Osiris, and Hine-tītama with Tane.
A powerful concept relating to Māori feminism and empowerment, Mana Wāhine honours Sofia’s tipuna (ancestors) as a manifestation of the divine feminine within Māori culture.
The dream-like wāhine wears a moko kauae and pounamu, honouring her spiritual connection to her whakapapa or divine ancestry with integrity and strength.
By using Western oil on canvas to demonstrate the divine feminine energy of mana wāhine, it’s an exploration of Ngati Porou, Swedish, and Irish heritage.
From left to right: Queen of Raa, Magdalena, Mana Wāhine