Thursday, July 2, 2009

A Bay of Plenty Marae

All photos May 2009. Ajr
The tiny settlement of Kutarere sits in the eastern Bay of Plenty, 30 kilometres from Whakatane and 20 kilometres from Opotiki. Once the port town of Ohiwa Harbour, servicing the hinterland, today it is little more than a cluster of houses that line the main road. In 2005 the population was just 15. When I past through recently, I never even saw that many people.

All photos May 2009. Ajr
But I did stop at the cute wee Kutarere Church (which I’ll show another time), and, just a few metres down the road, the Kutarere Marae, pictured here, which has recently undergone major renovations. The area is steeped in Maori history and it’s home to the people of Te Upokorehe, one of the six sub-tribes of Te Whakatohea and the beautiful wharenui is called Te Poho o Tamaterangi. There also appear to be tribal links to Tuhoe via the hapu Turanga Pikitoa of the Maungapohatu tribal group – but just a little complex for me to work out for sure. If I’m wrong in that, I’m happy to be corrected via a comment left below.


  1. The Wharenui 'Ko te Poho O Tamaterangi' is directly linked to Ngati Kahungunu. Kutarere Marae was founded in 1943 by Hurae Ihaia. This is the second wharenui which was rebuilt and opened in 1999. The marae itself is registered as a NGAI TURANGA MARAE. The Hapu you refer to is actually Turanga Pikitoi not Pikitoa. Although Kutarere Marae is situated in the area or rohe of Upokorehe it does not refer to itself as a Upokorehe Marae. That distinction is afforded to Roimata Marae. Kutarere is managed by The Kutarere Marae Trustees. There are in fact 18 Whanau affiliated to this Marae. You cannot whakapapa to this Marae as it does not have an ancestor. This marae is represented by many hapu from various iwi around New Zealand. Predominantly Ngai Tuhoe, Ngai Turanga, Ngati Kahungunu ki Wairoa, Turanga Pikitoi, Ngati Porou and upokorehe. Hurae Ihaia was succeeded by Waereti Hurae Kiwara (nee Rakai) and as of 9 May 2011 she still resides in Whakatane aged 86 years old! (Mum will be 87 yrs old on 30 May 2011). Considered to be one of a handful of kuia and koroua in Tuhoe aged 85 yrs of age and over she is a testament to longevity! Her life is full of stories and memories that stretch back to 1924. If you are ever this way again Adrienne you are most welcome to call in and visit my mum. You can reach me on 027-3087322. My name is Anaru Mark Kiwara and I am son number 5 of 6 and second youngest of 9 children.

  2. Thanks so much for all this marvellous information Anaru. I'm always aware that my trips around New Zealand are hurried and my stops at various marae short - and usually early in the morning when no one is around due to my schedule, so I seldom get to talk to any of the local whanau about a maraes origins. And I must say, they're difficult to research once I'm back home in Christchurch. So sadly, I often make a few mistakes.
    So receiving this sort of feedback is terrific - and very helpful to me and blog readers. It adds so much colour to a place to know something deeper about its marae - certainly for the many international readers, who visit this blog, but also for New Zealanders, many of whom don't think about these things enough.
    So thank you once again. I really appreciate your positive feedback and your sharing of whanau stories.
    I'm afraid to say, that other feedback on my little marae stories hasn't always as positive - I have been berated for getting things wrong; and for even 'daring' to write about a place at all. But as your note here clearly demonstrates, every marae is laced with intricate whanau connections that a passer-by cannot possibly be expected to know. My answer to those people, to the knockers of this blog, is that I do my very best to show the many positives of Maori culture beyond the bad press in daily newspapers. I don't think that's a bad thing - even in light of a few mistakes.
    But enough of that. That's another debate for another time.
    All the best ~ Adrienne


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