Aotearoa and Australia

UN map of Australasia and surrounding regions. Image Credit: UN/WikiCommons.

The lands today known as Aotearoa and Australia have been populated by indigenous peoples for several centuries, with human habitation of Aotearoa dating to thirteenth, possibly fourteenth century, whereas Australia has been inhabited some point between 50,000 and 65,000 years ago. Both regions were colonised by the British Empire in the eighteenth century, and the indigenous populations and ways of life have been changed dramatically as a consequence. As part of the Commonwealth Australia and Aotearoa continued to have the British monarch as a head of state, however both countries operate with their own constitutions and forms of governments.

Though much of the histories of the indigenous populations has been transmitted orally, there remains substantive evidence to inform us of the ways their societies operated, their leadership, and their cultures. As with the indigenous peoples of the Americas, they would not have recognised their female leaders as queens in the same way other regions did, however their female rulers are worthy of further attention and understanding.

You can find out more about some of these indigenous female rulers below!


Ballara, Angela. Te Kīngitanga: The People of the Māori King Movement. Auckland: Auckland University Press, 1996

Brookes, Barbara. A History of New Zealand Women. Wellington: Bridget Williams Books, 2016

Lowe, David. Forgotten Rebels: Black Australians Who Fought Back. New York: Permanent Press, 1994

Norrie, Aidan. “Female Rangatira in Aotearoa New Zealand.” In A Companion to Global Queenship, edited by Elena Woodacre, 109-121. Leeds: Arc Humanities Press, 2018.

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