The early life of Dame Whina Cooper, one of the most influential Māori leaders of the 20th century, is explored in the first part of this two-part TVNZ profile. The inspirational leader of the 1975 Māori Land March was born in Hokianga in 1897. In this Koha interview from 1983, she recalls her first protest at age 18, working with her people to improve their land (spurring them on with a whistle given to her by Sir Apirana Ngata). Cooper also talks about becoming a pig breeder with aid from Princess Te Puea, and reminisces about a Tūhoe leader who gave new meaning to the idea of fiery oratory.
My relations, cousins, they are all dead but I said to them, “What do you eat here in heaven?”. And they said, “puha”.– Dame Whina Cooper recalls a dream
Archival footage from material preserved and made available by The New Zealand Film Archive Ngā Kaitiaki O Ngā Taonga Whitiāhua.