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Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Google Doodle for Whina Cooper’s 120th Birthday

Dec 9, 2015

Whina Cooper’s 120th Birthday

When she was 18, Whina Cooper organized her first demonstration, rallying a small group to protest the leasing of land where the Maori people traditionally fished. When she was close to 80, Cooper led another protest, this time organizing thousands of people on a landmark march from the Far North to Parliament in Wellington to publicly decry the loss of millions of acres of Maori land. 

Not only did the march unite many different groups--a major feat at the time--, but it also attracted significant national attention, taking public awareness of Maori land rights to new heights.

Whina Cooper was an activist for most of her life. She fought tirelessly for the rights of Maori people, especially women, serving as the first president of the Maori Women’s Welfare League. In recognition of her efforts, she was made a Dame of the British Empire in 1981, and a member of the Order of New Zealand in 1991. 

Today, on what would have been her 120th birthday, we honor Dame Whina Cooper with a Doodle that pays tribute to her most historic achievement, that famous land march. Doodler Olivia Huynh took inspiration from photos of the time, highlighting the fact that the march involved people of all ages, all brought together by a passionate and tenacious leader: Whina Cooper.

Early sketches by Olivia Huynh

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