Te Whare Taikura o Te Maatu

On Friday 5 August, against the backdrop of our snow dusted maunga Pukeone, we celebrated the opening of Te Whare Taikura o Te Maatu with a dawn blessing and pōwhiri. The cultural center at Motueka High School is a significant whare to us and a place where both Māori and Pasifika will have their academic and cultural needs met.

It’s also a place where all Motueka High School students including Māori, Pakeha, Pasifika, and international students can celebrate diversity and learn about the rich history of the land upon which Te Whare Taikura o Te Maatu stands.

NRAIT member and former Motueka High School student Miriana Stephens told the story of our tūpuna and our whenua to the students, teachers, parents, and community members who attended on the early crisp morning of the whare’s opening.

“It’s built on land rich in Māori history, our history, and will stand as a reminder of the courage and determination of our families to take a stand and ensure the land was returned to us…” – Mirana Stephens

You can watch Miriana’s kōrero here or read our story here.

The name of the whare is especially significant. As you know Te Maatu is the garden and forest of the Ngāti Rārua and Te Ᾱtiawa people as manawhenua ki Motueka, so NRAIT is very proud to be involved in a project like this with the school and the other community groups that generously contributed to this project (these are listed at the end).

Earlier last year (8 May 2015) the founding partners came together to sign their commitment to the project. The school’s Māori head of department Hāmihi Duncan summed it up well on the day:

“It’s a space that has been put together by the community for the community.” – Hamihi Duncan

Watch the video of the founding partner’s signing ceremony here.

Te Whare Taikura o Te Maatu is just the second whare like this to be built in the region, with the other being based at Nelson College.

There’s still some final touches before it is officially completed, such as installing the carvings, but for the meantime the community is very proud of what we’ve achieved together.


Rōpata Taylor

Chair, Ngāti Rāura Ātiawa Iwi Trust

Founding partners: Ngāti Rāura Ātiawa Iwi Trust, Wakatū, iTM Motueka, The Canterbury Community Trust, Nelson Building Society and Motueka High School

Support and donations from: Ngāti Rāura Ātiawa Iwi Trust, Wakatū Incorporation, Rata Foundation, Internal Affairs, The Lion Foundation, Motueka High School Parent Teacher Association, Nelson Building Society, iTM Motueka, Konica Minolta and the Ministry of Education.