This article draws from research with Māori women who have experiences of incarceration and key informants who have worked with Māori in the criminal justice system and/or in communities in Aotearoa New Zealand. Understanding was sought through an exploration of the intergenerational transfer of suffering and the associated normalisation of dysfunction and incarceration. Theories of historical trauma are utilised as a way to comprehend our history of incarceration; most invigorating about historical trauma theory is its ultimate aim of healing, however. Therefore we also sought narratives of hope for new pathways through which Māori women can reconnect and rebuild their lives and those of their whānau. Through such an aim that seeks self- determined solutions to past wounding, historical trauma theory can contribute to contemporary rebuilding for incarcerated Māori women and their whānau.