Irawhiti Takatāpui: Transgender Rainbow Māori

Irawhiti is an umbrella word and an individual identity, which refers to all transgender people; including binary,non-binary, and some intersex people.


Takatāpui is an umbrella word and an individual identity, which refers to all rainbow people – including transgender, pansexual, lesbian, queer, gay, bisexual, and some asexual people.

When we speak te reo Māori, we may refer to all transgender people as irawhiti, or all rainbow people as takatāpui. However, usually only Māori people use ‘irawhiti’ or ‘takatāpui’ to name their personal identity.

Note: According to Stats NZ, just under half of all Māori people speak some te reo Māori. Almost 17% of Māori adults speak it fluently.


Māori people come in all shapes, sizes, and skin tones. While some of us are more quickly recognised as Māori, all Rainbow people who whakapapa Māori are equally part of the takatāpui whānau.

Many of us whakapapa Māori, and also whakapapa to other ethnicities and cultures, such as English, Irish, Chinese, and Indian. Having more ancestors from other cultures does not erase our Māori ancestors. We reject caste systems and measuring our blood quantum – we are not ”part Māori” or ”half caste”. We are Māori, and we carry the blood, histories, and wairua of all our ancestors.

To stand in our power as irawhiti takatāpui is to carry the mauri – the life force, and connection to all things. We are not separate or apart from our culture – we are part of our culture, we always have been, and we always will be.

Illustrated by Huriana Kopeke-Te Aho. Design by Ahi Wi-Hongi.

Download this set of posters and the infosheet as a PDF here.

More information on irawhiti takatāpui