I have published two books as a result of my research:


You can purchase it for $35 plus $6.50 postage.

Te Awa Atua: Menstruation in the pre-colonial Maori world (2013) is taken directly from my Masters thesis and includes all the elements you’d expect in an academic work, including a discussion of how I went about doing the research and my findings in detail.

From the back cover of Te Awa Atua:

Te Awa Atua is a groundbreaking study of menstruation in pre-colonial Māori society. Many early ethnographic accounts of menstrual rites were distorted beyond recognition by the colonial lense of their authors, yet their misinterpretations continue to be accepted as authoritative.

This book is a challenge to that authority. By examining stories about menstruation located in Māori cosmologies, tribal histories, oral literatures, ceremonies and rites, Ngāhuia Murphy argues that menstruation was sees as a medium of whakapapa (genealogy) that connected Māori women to their pantheon of atua (deities). Ancient rites, recorded in tribal songs and chants, reveal that menstrual blood was used for psychic and spiritual protection. These examples reveal striking Indigenous constructs of womanhood that radically challenge notions of female inferiority and menstrual pollution.

“It is impossible to overstate the importance of what Ngāhuia has done here… This is a brave, insightful, uplifting and liberating book. We should all be reading it, discussing it and acting on it”
Ani Mikaere, Ngāti Raukawa

“Te Awa Atua fits within the exciting work being done by indigenous writers around the world to reclaim truths of indigenous value and history that have for too long been misinterpreted and redefined by the colonisers. In particular it is an important addition to Māori scholarship and a proud and necessary restatement of mana wahine.”
Moana Jackson, Ngāti Kahungunu.



You can purchase this book for $25 plus $7.50 postage

Waiwhero: He Whakahirahiratanga o te Ira Wahine: A Celebration of Womanhood is based on Te Awa Atua but has been written specifically for whanau, rangatahi, the education and health sectors. Waiwhero is also bilingual, having been translated by the wonderful Sean Ellison, making it a great reo and kaupapa Māori sexual health resource (a rarity!).  Regan Balzer has also illustrated the book and provided beautiful paintings of the cosmological origin stories for menstruation. Waiwhero is a smaller book and an easier read but necessarily leaves out a lot of related material. It’s perfect for mums, aunties and nannies to share with their girls. Having said that there is a reason why Sean Ellison translated the work. Men have a role and place in this korero. For our tipuna Waiwhero was a whanau issue not a women’s issue because it assured the continuation of whakapapa lines. Some of my biggest supporters in the mahi have been Māori men.  I have heard wonderful stories around the motu about koro’s massaging their moko’s and preparing special kai during this time, solo dads doing the best they can to reclaim empowering tikanga for their girls,  as well as the traditions of male midwifery that have been largely severed through the imposition of legislation. It’s important that Māori girls are taught about the mana and tapu of their bodies but it’s just as critical that the boys are taught too so they do not continue to perpetuate patriarchal and colonial attitudes.


To order books, please deposit the full cost including postage into ANZ 01 0315 0160455 00 and use your name as the reference. Then email me at poitahu@gmail.com with your name, address and confirmation of payment. If you buy more than one book, postage is $7.50 for up to 5 copies.