Painting of Dame Whina Cooper by artist Suzy Pennington
Dame Whina, awarded the title of Te Whaea o te Motu (Mother of the Nation) by the Mäori Women's Welfare League, holds a special place in New Zealand history as a founder of the League and because of her long life devoted to the service of her people and to the wellbeing of women and children. She particularly stressed the value of primary health and the importance of good midwifery services being available to Mäori women and their whanau. The whakatau (Mäori proverb) on the painting is the chant "ruia, ruia" from the Muriwhenua iwi of the Far North and symbolises inspiration, challenge and hope. The painting has hung in the Council's office since its opening in February 2007.