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Mataatua Whare – The House That Came Home

Mataatua Wharenui – Te Whare i Hoki Mai is the remarkable and disturbing story of the journey of one of New Zealand’s foremost wharenui (meeting houses), away from the people of Ngāti Awa and Whakatāne to exhibitions around the world, before returning home 130 years later.

Mataatua Whare was built in 1875 as a beacon of hope in desolate times to help strengthen the iwi. Shortly after being built, however, the wharenui was removed and it and its people were dishonoured. The return home of the wharenui to Whakatāne in 2011 was only due to the sheer persistence and determination of Ngāti Awa to see justice done.

The book follows the history of Mataatua Whare, its construction and subsequent travels to Australia, England and back to Dunedin, the work put into its return to Ngāti Awa, its refurbishment and reopening on 17 September 2011. The book also provides an informative insight into many of the tīpuna depicted in the house along with whakapapa, the genealogies, connecting events and people over generations.

Written by Hirini Mead, Layne Harvey, Pouroto Ngaropo and the late Te Onehou Phillis, Mataatua Wharenui – Te Whare i Hoki Mai details some of the extraordinary events surrounding the history of this illustrious and beautiful wharenui.

As Hirini Mead says, ‘This book remained in the thoughts of the writers for some time. Now the bird has developed wings; it has emerged and flown, to be seen by the many. This is Mataatua Whare [Mataatua meeting house] and the tīpuna [ancestors] within it greeting the world and welcoming you.’

A book launch for Mataatua Wharenui – Te Whare i Hoki Mai will be held at Mataatua Whare on Wednesday, 21 February 2018, Te Mānuka Tūtahi Marae, 105 Muriwai Drive, Whakatāne. Pōwhiri will be at 10.00am.

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