Sunday, March 1, 2009
Nga Hau E Whau National Marae, a multi-tribal, multi-cultural marae that was built in Christchurch in the 1980s on land gifted by the Christchurch City Council. It’s the only marae in New Zealand that was founded as a meeting place for all the peoples of New Zealand regardless of tribal affiliations, race, religion or geography. It operates as a place of culture, education and entertainment and frequently welcomes visitors and tourists, who can watch Maori weavers and wood carvers at work. I love the Marae buildings here but as the complex was closed when I stopped by, I photographed this rather impressive front gate instead. The prominent lintel over the gateway is called Te Amorangi. The two top carved human figures are of Governor William Hobson (the Queen’s representative) and a Maori Rangatira (chief), who represents the three Ngai Tahu chiefs who signed the Treaty of Waitangi. Both represent the coming together of Maori and Pakeha (Europeans) at the Marae.