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

Top chamber music composition prize goes to teenage Stokes Valley pianist Al Brown brings the garden to the table as ambassador Porirua dancer representing New Zealand at 'Olympics of dance' in Las Vegas Us Two: Shepherd Elliott and Jesse Simpson Five-year-old advanced cancer sufferer Saoirse Gaffney gets her giggle back My Secret Wellington: Irene van Dyk Sacred Heart Cathedral building shoe mountain for kids at low decile schools Dumpling'd's new premises, Fairouz's new name, and high tea at Hippopotamus Review: Seize, 117 Lambton Quay, Wellington Wellington Christmas parade set to be swapped for Christmas festival

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

Will you go to CubaDupa, the Cuba St carnival?

Yes, it looks like it'll be amazing!

I'll see what the weather does

No, it's basically just another community fair

Vote Result

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content