Thursday, July 16, 2009

A Place with History

Makirikiri. May 2009. Ajr
Makirikiri Marae, near Dannevirke in the lower North Island is home to three hapu of the Rangitane iwi – Ngati Mututahi, Ngati Hamua and Ngati Te Rangiwhakaewa. When I called in to see the marae it was mid-morning in May and my time was short. I stood awhile and admired the exterior carvings of the wharenui, Aotea, thinking how different they seemed to many I had seen on my North Island travels, yet not quite able to describe how exactly – darker I think, more heavily painted perhaps… if that doesn’t seem too superficial an observation.
It wasn’t until I got home many weeks later that I discovered the marae has a long and intriguing history. For a start, the first wharenui called Aotea was built by Ngati Te Rangiwhakaewa at Tawakeroa, near Tahoraiti, some miles from Makirikiri, about fourteen generations ago. Much later, Ngati Mutuahi started building a carved house at Tahoraiti in 1880, working with carvers from the Te Arawa iwi and craftsmen from the Ngati Tu hapu of Whanganui to complete the tukutuku panels and the embellishment of rafters. That house, named Aotea Tua-Toru, was completed in 1883.
During the 1950 and 1960s these Rangitane hapu areas were prone to the same population exodus as many others, as Maori moved to urban areas for work. The Aotea wharenui at Tahoriti was virtually abandoned and it fell into disrepair. Those hapu members remaining in the area decided to dismantle it and reassemble it closer to populated areas where hapu members could make better use of it. Hence its shift to its current location at Makirikiri, where it opened afresh – smaller but using the original carved wharenui barge boards from Tahoraiti – in 1967. A Tainui contingent led by Te Arikinui Te Atairangikaahu attended the dawn opening ceremony of Aotea Tua-Toru; and then Prime Minister, Sir Keith Holyoake gave an opening speech.


  1. hello man , i respect your hard working and it is very hard to build such this treasure so i wish to you good luck man take care of yourself.

  2. Kia Ora

    I am a descendant of Makirikiri Marae, is it possible if i can use your images for an assignment i am doing as part of my Iwi & Hapū assignments?

  3. Hi Anonymous - Yes, it's fine for you to use the shots of Makirikiri for your project - thanks for asking. Adrienne


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