Turangi's Hirangi marae is celebrating the 100th anniversary of their whare tūpuna, Tūwharetoa-i-Te-Aupouri. It was the first marae built in the area and follows the centenary of another Tūwharetoa tribal ancestral house, Pākira at Waitahanui marae early this year.
The Tuwharetoa-i-Te-Aupouri ancestral house named after the Ngāti Tūwharetoa chief has turned 100 years old.
“The outstanding aspect for me is establishing relationships among us,” said marae spokesperson Ngaiterangi Smallman.
“Whether you're a descendant of this marae or any of our relative marae of Te Mātāpuna region, such as Pūkawa, Waihi, Tokaanu, Hikairo, Rongomai, Korohe or Waitetoko, we come here as one.”
“To see our elders and children interacting together on our marae forecourt is wonderful,” said marae youth, Te Rewhanga-o-te-rangi Clendon-Smallman (Ngāti Tūrangitukua).
The marae's carved canoe named Te Hau-o-Tūnono was proudly on display and signified their genealogical ties with close relatives of Ngāti Omutahi residing in Kawerau.
“Keeping those relationship links with each other. Knowing the geneaological ties of Tūrangitukua with Ngāti Omutahi, Tūwharetoa near the shore,” said Hone Te Rire (Ngāti Tūwharetoa ki Te Tai).
“Seeing each other and being together keeps the relationships well.”
A book commemorating the ancestral house built in 1917 has been published. A wahakura has been gifted for future generations, along with three flax cloak that adorn ancestors inside.
“We want to strengthen our language being heard on our marae,” said Clendon-Smallman.
“And also for our young people, like myself to keep coming back to the marae.”
Locals hope the centenary celebrations will encourage relatives living outside the area to return.