An exhibition which is the amalgamation of two years' research celebrating the early kuia of the Te Arawa Women's Health League is now on display in the Rotorua Hospital atrium.

Dr Laurie Morrison grew up on tales of the Women's Health League, her grandmother a member of the Ohinemutu branch.

She said it was that family link which drew her into researching its history and, in December last year, she launched a book on the subject.

"We were all made to be made members whether we liked it or not, first my mum, then me.


"I always said that I would like to do a story on it, and that started with profiling my grandmother."

She said the book was about sharing the tales of brave pioneer Maori and non-Maori women that revealed the knowledge and aroha passed through the generations to descendants today.

Alongside the book, Dr Morrison created an exhibition of banners to celebrate each of the league's different branches and the women who made them possible.

She hoped everyone would enjoy the stories in the book, which appear on the banners.

She said she was excited to now bring it home to the hospital where it could be seen by more people.

"For me, it's about ensuring this legacy of our kuia, that's been left behind for us, is not forgotten."

Dr Morrison said the banners would have a life, and be available for branch hui and at conferences every year.

Lakes DHB general manager Māori health, Phyllis Tangitu, said the atrium was the perfect space to celebrate the history and journey of such wonderful Māori women.


Tangitu also acknowledged the ongoing work of health league members, many of whom were present at the opening of the exhibition.

"How wonderful to have our beautiful kuia adorning our atrium, and to have the opportunity to share their journey and history with our whānau and hapū."

The exhibition will be in place until the end of August.

The Te Arawa Women's Health League was founded by district nurse Robina Cameron with the support of Te Arawa elders in the Rotorua district in 1937.

The league's focus was the health of Māori women and children working through marae-based women's committees.