The primary objective of this thesis focused upon the life stories and experiences of wahine Māori in order to identify, define and describe the factors that contribute to the success of wahine Māori in leadership positions at secondary school level, and the ensuing struggle in the evolvement of a Māori women's professionalism. Data was collected through a questionnaire, interviews and literature reviews. This study draws on the contributions of a sample of ten wahine Māori currently working in education, discussing aspects of their early schooling, whānau, teaching careers, coping with pressures in teaching, future aspirations in education and commenting on the status, and issues related to the struggles confronting wahine Māori in secondary schools. Whilst the sample for this study is relatively small, it is nevertheless representative of a diverse range of ages, backgrounds and experience. The research is a starting point which could work to inspire, guide and support other wahine Māori venturing into secondary school teaching careers as newcomers.