Mataatua Wharenui: Te Whare i Hoki Mai

By Hirini Moko Mead, Te Onehou Phillis, Layne Harvey, Pouroto Ngaropo

Mataatua Wharenui: Te Whare i Hoki Mai

Mataatua wharenui is the most travelled Māori meeting house in the country. Built in 1875, it was taken to Australia, London and Otago before being returned to Whakatāne after more than a century away.

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Mataatua wharenui is the most travelled Māori meeting house in the country. Built in 1875, it was taken to Australia, London and Otago before being returned to Whakatāne after more than a century away.

The history of Mataatua is part of the story of the desecration of Ngāti Awa by the Crown and the fight of the people to regain their sovereignty. Following the confiscation of Ngāti Awa land in the 1860s and the devastation of Ngāti Awa, building a wharenui was proposed as a way to reunite the iwi. The result was Mataatua, a magnificent wharenui that established a living marae and honored the people, their history and whakapapa and the skills of the craftspeople.

Shortly after it was opened, the government requested that Mataatua be an exhibit at the Sydney International Exhibition, and from there, it travelled across the globe until ending as an exhibit in Otago Museum. By this time, the government had claimed ownership of Mataatua, and it took more than fifty years of perseverance by Ngāti Awa to have Mataatua returned to Whakatāne to again become a living wharenui in the care of its people. In words and photographs, the book describes the history and construction of Mataatua, its appropriation, work undertaken by generations to have it returned and the detail of its rebuild and opening in 2011.

Longlist, Ockham New Zealand Book Awards, Illustrated Non-fiction, 2019



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Product Details

  • ISBN: 9781775502128
  • Dimension: 210 x 270 mm
  • Pages: 380
  • Format: Hardback
  • Language: English
  • Publication Date: 01 Jan 2018

Product Review

Sir Hirini Moko Mead speaks to Kathryn Ryan from RNZ about the story of Mataatua Wharenui - from how it got taken to getting it back.

Listen to the full interview here: Nine to Noon | Author interview

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About the Author

Hirini Moko Mead

Sir Hirini Moko Mead (Ngāti Awa, Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Tūhourangi) is a prominent Māori writer and commentator. Author of over 70 books, papers and articles, he was Foundation Professor of Māori Studies at Victoria University and was closely involved in establishing the Māori university Te Whare Wānangā o Awanuiārangi in Whakatāne. A scholar of rare ex... Read More

About the Author

Te Onehou Phillis

Te Onehou Phillis (Ngāti Awa) was actively involved with the Whakatane based newspaper, Pū Kāea te Reo Panui o Mataatua since 1992, writing articles both in English and Māori. Eruera Mānuera, was Te Onehou’s first published book and is a daughter’s account of her father’s life. It is currently out of print. Te Onehou passed away in November 2012. Read More

About the Author

Layne Harvey

Layne Harvey (Ngāti Awa, Rongowhakaata, Te Aitanga-a-Māhaki, Te Whānau-ā-Apanui, Ngāti Kahungunu) is a Māori Land Court judge. Before he was appointed, Judge Harvey practised for 11 years as a lawyer in Auckland with Simpson Grierson and with Walters Williams and Company, where he became a partner. His work included acting for iwi and hapū in Waita... Read More

About the Author

Pouroto Ngaropo

Pouroto Ngaropo (Mataatua, Te Arawa, Tainui, Takitimu, Ngātokimatawhaorua) is a representative for Te Tawera on Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa and an expert in tikanga Māori and performing arts.  He has extensive knowledge of te ao Māori, as well as wide-ranging management and teaching experience.  He has held many cultural advisory roles, and been part of... Read More