Natasha Kewene-Hite was born in New Zealand, the child of a Maori father and a mother of European descent. She moved to Hawaii and then Oregon as a child because of her father’s educational pursuits. She was raised in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, attended BYU, went on a mission, married, and with her husband and children, moved to various locations around the world for her husband’s work, including Ireland, France, and Singapore. She now resides in New Zealand and is finishing up a master’s thesis on systemic bias.

Reflecting on her experience as a Latter-day Saint who has lived all over the world, she sees the global church facing some challenges. In New Zealand, many young single people are leaving the church, she reports, making it that much harder for those young people who would like to stay to do so. She thinks one reason so many are leaving is because there has not been space created for dialogue about the complexities of the tradition, the challenges, and the faith crises that so many are experiencing. She believes that in the United States there is more room for these complicated conversations in Latter-day Saint communities.

As Natasha pursues her work studying systemic bias in New Zealand and specifically, against Maori communities, Natasha is planning to work for positive change in New Zealand. Her attention is particularly focused on young Maori women and what she can do to mentor them. She reports that there is an increasing amount of interest and attention among New Zealanders of European descent to confront the legacies of colonization and to work for justice for indigenous populations.

Laie, Hawaii,1969. Natasha and her family, newly arrived from New Zealand for her father’s undergrad school at Church College of Hawaii.
Church College of Hawaii, 1973. Natasha’s father worked for the Church College of Hawaii running programs. He volunteered Natasha (age 8) to join this group of children, who were performing the traditional dance from each of the islands. Natasha is fourth from the left, dressed in traditional Maori clothing. They performed for tourists as the “lunch show.”
Natasha in sixth grade.
Eugene, Oregon, 1977. Natasha in sixth grade.
a rafting trip
Eugene, Oregon, 1983. Natasha had just graduated from high school, and the family was just returning from a rafting trip.
Singapore, 2016
Baltyboys Upper, Wicklow, Ireland, 2007. Natasha and family had just moved into their new home in Ireland. This is the view outside their kitchen.
walking a twelfth century monastery trail.
Barcelona, Spain, 2010. While living in France, Natasha took her kids on a trip to Spain. Here they are walking a twelfth century monastery trail.
Natasha and children
Kawhia, New Zealand, 2014. Natasha and children standing in front of ancestral land of Kawhia.

Singapore, Marina Barrage, 2016. Singapore financial district and Singapore Flyer in the background.