May 04, 2015
Ngati Huia treasures up in smoke
Hinemihi may have survived, but priceless taonga have been destroyed in the blaze that gutted a palladian mansion in Clandon Park in Surrey.
Jim Schuster from Heritage New Zealand, who has done restoration work on the 130 year-old house in the past, says it watched Mount Tarawera burn in 1886 and now it has watched a mansion burn.
The whare tupuna was bought by in 1892 by William Hillier Onslow, the fourth Earl of Onslow, when he finished his term as New Zealand’s governor general.
He shipped it back to his ancestral home, along with other treasures collected during his stay.
Mr Schuster says many of the taonga came from Otaki iwi Ngati Huia, who developed a close relationship with Lord Onslow after he called his New Zealand-born son Huia.
"They had taonga inside this Clandon House. Kakahu, patu pounamu lots of weapons and also lots of stuffed native birds of New Zealand. I remember seeing a Huia, a Kakapo. They ave all been destroyed in the fire"he says.
Jim Schuster says there had been plans to do some restoration work on Hinemihi this year, but that will go on hold until decisions are made about the main house.
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