Dame Whina Cooper (1895-1994)

Where can I find information about Dame Whina Cooper and the land march of 1975?

Junior Secondary

(Years 7-10)

Colour photo of Dame Whina Cooper during the Māori Land March, in Hamilton, Aotearoa NZ. She is wearing a pink headscarf and a kahu kiwi (kiwi feather cloak).

Image: Whina Cooper addressing Maori Land March at Hamilton by Christian Heinegg. Collection: Alexander Turnbull Library. Ref: 35mm-87529-13-F.

Entry last updated: 12/12/23


Dame Whina Cooper, of Te Rarawa descent, was born in 1895 in northern Hokianga. She is best known for leading the famous 1975 land march (also called a hīkoi) from Te Hapua (in the far north) to Parliament in Wellington. The land march was a protest about Māori land loss and a nation wide reminder of the strength of Māori identity.

General websites

Dame Whina Cooper is an important figure in New Zealand history. Below are some reliable websites with lots of information for you to investigate.

Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand

Te Ara is an excellent starting point for all questions about New Zealand Aotearoa. If we look down to the bottom of the page we can see that the website belongs to the Ministry for Culture & Heritage, so the information is well-researched and reliable.

  • Go down the page to select the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography.

  • Next select C to find Cooper, Whina, a biography of her life and activities.

  • Or, enter the keywords 'Whina Cooper' into the search bar.

  • This will lead you to more specific information on events in which Whina Cooper was involved eg land protests.

Tips: Search words, or keywords, are the most important words in our question. Usually it’s better to leave out small words like ‘the’, ‘a’ and ‘of’ and just choose the main ones. We can always change our keywords or add more if we need to.


NZHistory is another great site for information on New Zealand, and like Te Ara above, belongs to the Ministry for Culture & Heritage.

Tips: We like sites like this because they’re reliable. You can tell because of their web address – they have either .govt or .ac, meaning they are from government or educational organisations. They’re also New Zealand sites, so relevant for us.


DigitalNZ searches online resources from New Zealand libraries, museums, universities and government sites in one place. It groups results by the type of information and has lots of primary sources.

  • Search for 'Whina Cooper'.

  • You can use the tabs at the top to only look at images, audio, videos, articles and more.

  • Choose an item you're interested in eg Spectrum: Whina Cooper 1978, an interview you can listen to.

  • Or you could read an article like Whina Cooper: Fearless and unforgettable.

  • You may need to click on links to the Original Item to read, watch, or listen to all of it.

Britannica School Middle

This online version Encyclopedia Britannica is one of the EPIC databases. EPIC is a collection of reliable databases covering lots of different topics. It’s put together especially for New Zealand school students and helps to answer questions like this.

Tips: To get to the EPIC resources you will need a password from your school librarian first. Or you can chat with one of our AnyQuestions librarians between 1 and 6pm Monday to Friday and they will help you online. Some EPIC databases may also be available through your public library.

Papers Past

Papers Past is a searchable collection of early New Zealand newspapers (19th and 20th centuries), letters, diaries, magazines and Parliamentary Papers digitised by the National Library and partners.

  • Select Newspapers and use 'Whina Cooper' as your search words.

  • You could also search using her name from her first marriage 'Whina Gilbert'.

  • This will find different Newspaper articles from the time.

  • You can use the Filter to only look at particular dates eg 1975.

  • Select an article to read it eg Maori Welfare Leagues.

NZ On Screen

  • NZ On Screen is the online showcase of NZ television, film, music video and web series. Documentaries here are an excellent source of information.

  • Use the search box to look for 'Whina Cooper.'

  • You will find part one and part two of an in-depth documentary on Dame Whina Cooper.

  • You can also use different keywords to find footage of events that Whina Cooper was involved in eg The Māori Land March.

Tips: Websites that have .com or .co in the address can have good information, but you need to assess how reliable it is. Check the About us link on the website, if you can find one. That can tell you what the company’s mission and values are.


Your local or school library may also have books about Dame Whina Cooper and the land march. Some recommended titles are :

Tips: when searching for people on a library catalogue, you can leave out their titles such as Dame, Sir or Mr. In this case just search for the keywords 'Whina Cooper'.

SCIS no: 1888759

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