Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Buried Village of Te Wairoa - A Book

If you're a visitor to Rotorua, there's every chance you'll drive out to Lake Tarawera and The Buried Village, one of the city's leading tourist attractions. You don't actually see a lot and you have to walk quite a distance through a pretty park to see buried ruins (not that that is too much of a hardship), so I was delighted to pick up this old book recently - "The Buried Village of Te Wairoa," published by D.W.Smith, Rotorua. It doesn't have a publication date but judging by the photographs, it's relatively early, so I gathered it up to add to my collection of old books on New Zealand Maori.
Before the eruption of Mt Tarawera in 1886, the Te Wairoa valley was home to the Arawa hapu (sub-tribe), Tuhourangi. Along with a carved whare, (meeting house) called Hinemihi, (that's it in the second image from the top), there were churches, hotels and houses for both Maori and Pakeha. But when Tarawera blew her top on the night of June 10, 1886, rocks, firefalls and mud explorded into the air and rained down over an area of nearly 6,000 square miles. Around 143 people perished and the famous Pink and White Terraces were never seen again. The image directly above shows the whare (house) of Tohutu, the 100-year-old Tohunga (priest,witchdoctor), which is still at the Buried Village today. Tohutu was buried in the whare but was found alive four days later.
Caption as shown: "The carvings of this unique storehouse, or Pataka, are executed in sandstone, a material very rarely used for this purpose."
Caption as shown: "Restored and erected in the grounds of beautiful Clandon Park in England, this same whare was bought from the Te Wairoa Maoris by an early Governor, the Earl of Onslow, who took it back (to England), when his term was completed. The whole property is now in the hands of the National Historic Trust in Britain."

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