March 09, 2023
Mataatua wharenui taken off tourist trail
Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa has stopped using the historic meeting house Mataatua for tourism and will instead use the wharenui for events of significance.
Chief executive Reuben Araroa says with tourism numbers down the runanga is facing lower revenue and rising costs.
The wharenui was returned from Otago Museum in 1996 as part of the Ngati Awa treaty settlement after being taken from Whakatane in 1879 for exhibition, first in Australia and then in the United Kingdom.
Mr Aroaro says the iwi’s strategic development plan acknowledges the importance of Mataatua Wharenui in enhancing the mana of Ngāti Awa and uplifting its people.
That has led to a change in focus for Te Manuka Tūtahi marae, where the wharenui is sited.