Te Awekotuku is descended from Te Arawa, Tūhoe and Waikato iwi.
Ngahuia Te Awekotuku was born in 1949 in Rotorua, New Zealand. She grew up surrounded by a community of the most ferociously feminist women.
Te Awekotuku is descended from Te Arawa, Tūhoe and Waikato iwi. In addition, her paternal great grandfather was Norwegian Sami, the indigenous people of the Arctic Circle. This gave her the birth name Loevli, anglicised to Loffley, but she grew up carrying the Gordon surname. Today she shuns it, favouring Te Awekotuku.