Thursday, October 15, 2009
Of Washing and Whare
I’d been driving for quite some time when I got to Ruapeka Marae, near Fitzgerald Glade on State Highway 5 on the way to Rotorua, so I was more than happy to pull up on the wide road berm and sit awhile. When I lived in the North Island, I must have driven past this particular marae a hundred times and never really noticed it. This time was different. I pushed my seat back, opened the windows and just sat listening to the birds, wondering what went on here on an average day.
There was no one about and I have since discovered it is one of the many Ngati Raukawa marae – of the hapu Ngati Tukorehe. Their wharenui is named Rangimarie and their whare kai is Te Aroha. It’s a pretty spot, with the bright yellow wharenui sitting to one side of a large paddock against the leafy native bush backdrop of Tukorehe Reserve. Across the fields there was a small cluster of houses – one with this fabulous billowing clothes line. (I’m not sure why, but I find clothes lines full of washing a very appealing photographic subject). After I had spent a little time here, I drove on through Fitzgerald Glade and, seeing a sign for Tapapa Marae, I swung immediately left off the highway and happily drove down a winding country road. I carried on for miles but I must have driven right past it because I ended up back out on the highway having completed a great big loop….and had to drive all the way back past Ruapeka Marae a second time. It was a fruitless search at one level, but on my two month trip around New Zealand in April-May, I made many detours like that – and I loved every second of it. http://ruapekamarae.wainet.org