January 13, 2022
Ancient whare carvings in UK to be returned
In Clandon Park in Surrey, England sits a traditional Māori whare, Hinemihi. Taken there by the late Govenor General Lord Onslow in 1892 the small building has become a taonga to Māori and ex-patriots living in the UK.
The June 10 1886 eruption of Mount Tarawera near Rotorua killed 120 people with settlements destroyed or buried but those who sheltered in Hinemihi survived.
While the house has been in England for over 130 years it has always held a special place in the hearts of the Te Arawa descendants. There have been calls to have the house returned to Aotearoa but a project has come up with a different solution.
Led by Ngā Kōhinga Whakairo o Hinemihi Charitable Trust (NKWoH) and working with Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga, they are facilitating a unique exchange.
New carvings will be sent to England for a new whare whakairo, a carved house to be called Te Hono, on the grounds at Clandon Park.
The carvings which had previously decorated Hinemihi will be returned to New Zealand to be restored and preserved.