Growing up in New Zealand, Amelia Butler didn’t have many opportunities to learn her mother’s native language, Māori, in school.

As she got older, though, she sought out ways to learn more about the language and the culture. In 1987, the Māori language was made an official language of New Zealand.

Amelia began to seek out as much as she could to learn about that part of her own personal history.

But after moving to the United States and becoming a mother, the dancer realized she was ready to lean in and share more about that part of her own cultural background.

And so began Amelia’s journey to wholeness and sovereignty.

And her Brave Yes.

In this week’s Brave Yes show, I talk with Amelia about her journey from hip hop dancer to an international Māori language teacher and dance instructor — and how becoming a mother is what changed everything for her and what drives her now.

She shares her story of starting a business that has rippled across the world bringing Māori people together. She also teaches the dances Poi and the Haka, the traditional ceremonial dance that has become known through videos on rugby teams and more.

This was was a powerful Brave Yes interview. Amelia’s story to wholeness is awe-inspiring.

And just what every woman needs to hear right now if you are wondering how to be more YOU in this world that desperately wants you to conform to traditional, oppressive standards of women, families and culture.


Amelia Butler is an indigenous Māori performer, dancer and choreographer from New Zealand. She has been teaching and performing dance at an international level for over 20 years. Amelia moved to Los Angeles in 2008 to pursue a career in dance and has worked as a professional dancer in the LA entertainment industry. She founded and leads Los Angeles based traditional Māori performance group, Ngā Ānahera Māori, and teaches the Māori language via video chat through her company, Learn Māori Abroad. Amelia’s tribal affiliations are Ngātiwai, Ngāpuhi and Ngāti Awa. She is proud to share her culture here in the US. Follow her on Instagram.