Ngāti Maniapoto prepare to open King's house

By Kawe Roes
  • Waikato/Bay of Plenty

The King's house at Te Kūiti Pā under restoration during 2018 - Photo / Kawe Roes

From the fourth Māori King, Te Rata to the present Māori monarch, this little house on Te Kūiti Pā has long cared for members of the Kīngitanga and their guests.

Ngāti Maniapoto is gearing up to reopen the whare ariki this weekend.  It has been closed since 2016.

King Tuheitia Pōtatau Te Wherowhero VII will be in attendance at the annual poukai with his tohunga leading the reopening ceremony. 

PHOTO/KAWE ROES: Restoration works included rewiring, gib, paint, new carpet, new hot water cylinder, new kitchen, bathroom and furnishings.

During 2018, the whare ariki was gutted then fully refurbished ready for use at the end of that year.

The house was gifted by the Te Ata Hoani and her husband Te Whiwhi, the whare ariki was named Te Ranga-a-Haurua.

Restoration project manager Aroha Te Kanawa says, "Although initially there was resistance against the full restoration and refurbishment of Te Ranga-a-Haurau...to replace it with a totally new building. 

"We wanted to honour Te Ata Hoani's gift and with her financial contribution, the trustees, with the support of the whānau, would not have had the ability to carry out this project.

"Through the gift of this kuia, our marae is able to sustain and honour our king.  We are so humbled by her whakaaro rangatira." 

The doorway to the left will house the kitchen, while right doorway will have brand new bathroom installed - Photo / Kawe Roes

"There is no change externally to the house but Te Ranga-a-Haurau now boasts new foundations, rewiring, plumbing, re-gibbing and a contemporary modern feeling inside, befitting for our king.

"Our marae is very fortunate to have a king's whare.  It is part of our history, our whakapapa and, just like the restoration of our te whare tupuna, it will now remain part of our future," says Te Kanawa.

Te Ranga-a-Haurua was built beside the meeting house Te Tokanganui-a-Noho with King Te Rata being the first king to stay on his visits to Te Rohe Pōtae o Maniapoto.

The exterior of the house needed new cladding in parts and a new roof fitted - Photo / Kawe Roes

The whare ariki was used as a lounge, sleeping quarters and a dining room during the annual visits of the late Māori Queen, Te Arikinui Te Atairangikaahu, and is used by her son King Tuheitia Pōtatau Te Wherowhero VII and his royal family when they visit the area.