Go to National Library of New Zealand Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa
Volume 34, 1901
This text is also available in PDF
(120 KB) Opens in new window

New Members.—J. J. Craig, W. Crosher, F. Mander, M. McLean.

The President said he had pleasure in announcing that the Institute had purchased for the Auckland Museum the celebrated Maori carved house formerly standing at Taheke, on the north side of Lake Rotoiti.

After some general remarks, he said that the history of the house, as far as particulars had been obtained was as follows: In 1867, at which time several notable houses were being erected in the East Coast districts, it was suggested by Captain G. Mair and Mr. H. T. Clarke that one should he built at Taheke, near which a considerable number of

– 574 –

Maoris were then living. The proposal was taken up by the Maoris with very great enthusiasm. The carving was undertaken by Wero, Anaha te Rahui, and others of the Ngatitarawhai Tribe, with several well-known carvers of the Ngatipikiao Tribe. A large sum of money was collected from the neighbouring Maoris, many who were then employed by the Government as militia contributing a fixed proportion of their regular pay. The carving occupied between three and four years, and many of the side slabs were carved from the sides of famous old war-canoes which had been in the possession of the Maoris for generations, and which had been used against the Tohourangi at Te Ariki, and which had been dragged overland into Tarawera Lake. The house was completed about 1871. The principal owner was Te Waata Taranui, elder brother of the late Pokiha Taranui (Major Fox). It was named Rangitihi, after the well-known hero of that name, who, next to Tama-te-Kapua, was the most renowned ancestor of the Arawas. The house was nearly 60 ft. long by 25 ft. wide, and had a height of about 18 ft. to the crown of the roof. In 1882 Te Waata died, and was buried within the veranda, or porch, of the house. An elaborately carved tomb, in true Maori style, was put up over the grave. This was subsequently acquired by Sir Walter Buller, and, after being exhibited at the Indian and Colonial Exhibition, was finally presented to the Trocadero, at Paris. During the eruption of Tarawera the roof of the house was broken in by the vast quantity of mud lodged upon it. The house was consequently taken down and removed to Maketu, with the intention of re-erecting it there, a project which, for want of funds, was never carried out.

Papers.—1. “Descriptions of New Native Plants,” by D. Petrie. (Transactions, p. 390.)

2. “On the Volcanic Ash-beds of the Auckland Isthmus,” by E. K. Mulgan. (Transactions, p. 414.)