Goddess Spirituality and Nature in Aotearoa New Zealand


  • Kathryn Rountree Massey University




green philosophies, nature religions, goddess spirituality, Maori religion,


Participants in Goddess spirituality in New Zealand share two fundamental characteristics: their feminist political stance and their deep sense of con¬nection with, love for and concern about the natural environment. Eschewing the essentialist formulation of women/nature, men/culture, they wish to dismantle all such dualisms, to advocate the embracing of Green philosophies and practices by all people, and to promote a worldview that honors the sanctity and inter-relatedness of all life. To some extent, these ideas have much in common with indigenous Maori ideas about nature, even though each belief complex is uniquely embedded in its own culture and unique relationship to landscape and history. Nonetheless, Goddess spirituality’s ideas about nature have a great deal more in common with worldviews that perceive the ‘natural world’ as entirely animate and intimately connected with humanity than they do with the ideas of modern capitalist societies, which reduce nature to an inanimate resource available for human exploitation.

Author Biography

Kathryn Rountree, Massey University

Kathryn Rountree is senior lecturer in social anthropology at Massey University and author of Embracing the Witch and the Goddess: Feminist Ritual-makers in New Zealand (Routledge 2004). As well as publishing widely in academic journals on aspects of feminist witchcraft and Goddess spirituality, she has written texts on academic writing and a series of educational books on New Zealand prehistory and early Maori settlement. Recent research and publications have focused on Goddess pilgrimages and embodiment, and on competing discourses in relation to archaeological sites in Malta and Turkey.


Barlow, C. Tikanga Whakaaro: Key Concepts in Mœori Culture. Auckland: Oxford University Press, 1991.

Batten, Juliet. Celebrating the Southern Seasons: Rituals for Aotearoa. Auckland: Tandem Press, 1995.

???. Power from Within: A Feminist Guide to Ritual-making. Auckland: Ishtar Books, 1988.

Bolen, Jean Shinoda. Goddesses in Everywoman: A New Psychology of Women. New York: Harper & Row, 1985.

Christ, Carol P. Rebirth of the Goddess: Finding Meaning in Feminist Spirituality. New York: Routledge, 1997.

???. She who Changes: Re-imagining the Divine in the World. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003.

???. “Why Women Need the Goddess: Phenomenological, Psychological and Political Reflections.” In Womanspirit Rising: A Feminist Reader in Religion, 273-87. San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1979.

Christ, Carol P., and Kathryn Rountree. “Humanity in the Web of Life.” Paper presented to the “Nature, Science and Social Movements” conference held at University of the Aegean, Mytilene, Greece, 25–28 June 2004.

Eller, Cynthia. Living in the Lap of the Goddess: The Feminist Spirituality Movement in America. Boston, MA: Beacon Press, 1993.

Griffin, Wendy, ed. Daughters of the Goddess: Studies of Healing, Identity and Empowerment. Walnut Creek, CA: Altamira Press, 2000.

Harvey, Graham. Listening People, Speaking Earth: Contemporary Paganism. London: Hurst and Co., 1997.

Harvey, Graham, ed. Indigenous Religions: A Companion. London: Cassell, 2000.

???. Readings in Indigenous Religions. London: Continuum, 2002.

Long, Asphodel. “The Goddess Movement in Britain Today.” Feminist Theology 5 (1995): 11-39.

Marsden, Maori. “God, Man and Universe. A Maori View.” In Te Ao Hurihuri: Aspects of Maoritanga, edited by Michael King, 118-37. Auckland: Reed, 1992.

???. The Woven Universe: Selected Writings of Rev. Maori Marsden, edited by Te Ahukaramu C. Royal. Published by the estate of Rev. Maori Marsden, 2003.

Orange, Claudia. The Treaty of Waitangi. Wellington: Bridget Williams Books, 1987.

Raphael, Melissa. Introducing Thealogy: Discourse on the Goddess. Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1999.

Rose, Deborah Bird. Dingo Makes us Human: Life and Land in an Australian Aboriginal Culture. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992 and 2002.

???. “Sacred Site, Ancestral Clearing, and Environmental Ethics.” In Readings in Indigenous Religions, edited by Graham Harvey, 319-42. London: Continuum, 2002.

Rountree, Kathryn. Embracing the Witch and the Goddess: Feminist Ritual-makers in New Zealand. London: Routledge, 2004.

???. “The Politics of the Goddess: Feminist Spirituality and the Essentialism Debate.” Social Analysis 43 (1999): 142-68.

Salmond, Anne. Two Worlds: First Meetings between Mœori and Europeans 1642–1772. Auckland: Penguin, 1991.

Sinclair, D. “Land: Mœori View and European Response.” In Te Ao Hurihuri: Aspects of Maoritanga, edited by Michael King, 64-83. Auckland: Reed, 1992.

Spretnak, Charlene, ed. The Politics of Women’s Spirituality: Essays on the Rise of Power within the Feminist Movement. New York: Anchor Books, 1982.

Starhawk. The Spiral Dance: A Rebirth of the Ancient Religion of the Great Goddess. San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1989.

Tawhai, T. P. “Maori Religion.” In Readings in Indigenous Religions, edited by G. Harvey, 237-49. London: Continuum, 2002.

Walker, Ranginui. “The Relevance of Mœori Myth and Tradition.” In Te Ao Hurihuri: Aspects of Maoritanga, edited by Michael King, 171-82. Auckland: Reed, 1992.



How to Cite

Rountree, K. (2007). Goddess Spirituality and Nature in Aotearoa New Zealand. Pomegranate, 7(2), 141–156. https://doi.org/10.1558/pome.v7i2.141




Most read articles by the same author(s)