Google's doodle is commemorating what would have been prominent Maori activist, Dame Whina Cooper's 120th birthday.

The logo on its search pages, which frequently changes to reflect prominent events, today depicts a painting of the woman who spent much of her life fighting for Maori rights.

In a miniature version at the top left of its search results page, Dame Whina's head, covered in a red scarf, takes the place of the second "o" in Google.

In a fuller doodle, on its search page, the Maori activist, who organised her first demonstration at 18, can be seen in the place of the second "g" wearing a traditional Maori cloak, Maori people behind her.

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According to the Google Doodle page, the image "pays tribute to her most historic achievement, that famous land march".

Early sketches by Olivia Huynh.
Early sketches by Olivia Huynh.

In 1975, Dame Whina, who was 80 at the time, led the land march from Te Hapua (in the Far North) to Parliament in Wellington and presented a 60,000-signature petition to the then Prime Minister Bill Rowling.

The march, which had about 5000 people by the time it arrived in Wellington, was a protest against the loss of more Maori land and was seen to mark a new era of protest and reform.

Google said its doodler Olivia Huynh took inspiration from photos of the time and the doodle was "highlighting the fact that the march involved people of all ages, all brought together by a passionate and tenacious leader".

Dame Whina died in the Hokianga in 1994.

About Dame Whina Cooper

• December 9, 1895, born in northern Hokianga

• 1930s significant leader of the northern Hokianga people

• 1932 helped set up Maori land development schemes in the region

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• 1950s was president of the Maori Women's Welfare league, which by the mid-1950s had more than 300 branches and 4000 members

• 1953 appointed an MBE

• 1975 at age 80 led the land march

• 1990 opened the Auckland Commonwealth Games

• 1994 died aged 98 in the Hokianga

• A two part documentary on Dame Whina Cooper can be seen on NZ On Screen.

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