The history behind Te Papa's 'stolen marae'

Last updated 13:15 01/12/2013
Te Papa wharanui

Beautiful: New Zealand's oldest wharanui, Te Hau Ki Tauranga, is housed by Te Papa, for now.

Relevant offers

Capital Life

Opportunity seen in losing sunnies Sir Richard Taylor: For the love of Wellington Lashings of food, glorious food at the waterfront Win big in the Canon 'Kiwi Summer' photo competition My secret Wellington: Samuel Scott, Phoenix Foundation musician New look, fresh sound for Teresa Bergman's homecoming Chef is quietly fermenting Food hampers from Santa's helpers Treasure hunt proposal does the trick From trash to Christmas tidings

New Zealand's oldest wharenui (meeting house,) Te Hau ki Turanga, housed by Te Papa, has had a chequered past, and its eventful life is set to continue a while yet.

The totara whare was built in Manuteke, Gisborne, in 1842 under the direction of Raharuhi Rukupo, a carver and chief of the Rongowhakaata tribe.

Rukupo carved the whare in remembrance of his elder brother, Tamati Waka Mangere, who had passed on the mantle of chieftainship to Rukupo at his death.   The whare became known as a beautiful work of art.

In 1865, the first disturbance of its history came with an offer of purchase from the government, which Rukupo refused.

Minister of Native Affairs James Richmond returned in 1867 with orders for confiscation. The whare was dismantled and removed despite local protest, although £100 was distributed as payment. 

Rukupo petitioned to have the whare returned later that year, but was  rebuffed. 

Rongowhakaata leaders again petitioned the government in 1878, five years after Rukupo's death.  The Native Affairs select committee recommended a further £300 be paid.

Between 1867 and 1996, the meeting house was moved three times, from Gisborne to Wellington, then from the Colonial Museum to the Dominion Museum on Buckle St. 

In 1996, Rongowhakaata representatives escorted it down Tory St to a new home in Te Papa.  As a result of Rongowhakaata claims made to the Waitangi Tribunal, the whare will be moved one last time - the iwi's settlement includes a plan for it to be returned to its rightful owners by 2017.

- Source: Waitangi Tribunal, Te Papa website

Ad Feedback

- The Dominion Post

Comments

Special offers
Opinion poll

If you had a choice, which would you prefer on Christmas day?

A sunny, warm, breathless day

A metre of snow to play in

Thunder and rain - perfect for indoor lunch and snooze

Don't mind at all ... that BBQ will be lit

Vote Result

Related story: Sun takes a Christmas holiday

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content