Te Muriwai mai Tawhiti was named by the crew of the Horouta waka, in remembrance of Te Muriwai that was left behind in their beloved homeland of Hawaiki.
The settlement that was established many generations ago, continues on in the village to this day. The wharenui or meeting house as we know it today, is called Te Poho o Tāmanuhiri. It was moved from Rō Pā (The Pā) to its present site in 1916. Rising waters, the threat of typhoid and the movements of the Waipaoa River forced the people to move further inland.
Rō Pā was originally situated on the edge of Te Wherowhero lagoon, at a settlement known as Pīti Tāone (Beach Town). Photographs in the Tairāwhiti Museum document the meeting house at Pīti Tāone in 1896. The World War I Memorial Hall was built after Waiari. The dining room, known as Maungarongo, was erected in 1946 and features carvings by Pine Taiapa.
Te Poho o Tāmanuhiri is a painted whare. While it has whakairo (carvings) on the exterior, it has a painted interior. This method of adornment was popular in the late 1800s to the early 1900s. Some of the best examples of painted meeting houses are in the Tūranga (Gisborne) district.
The free flowing graphic forms of kōwhaiwhai have inspired many artists from Ngāi Tāmanuhiri. The spirited, bold style of painting in the wharenui are evident in many art forms created today by descendants of the marae. The interior was recently restored by Dean Whiting from the Historical Places Trust. Our iwi conservator is Scott Riki.
Ko Mātītī te taumata tirotiro | Ko Maraetaha te awa | Ko Horouta te waka | Ko Ngāi Tāmanuhiri te iwi | Ko Waiari te marae
Waiari means ‘underground waters’. Close to the marae site, there are underground springs that run from the hills to the ocean. That is the significance of the name Waiari. The Riki whānau built the meeting house in 1912, according to Angela Hair. Other sources state that the building came about due to Pākowhai land block funds. But that the land belonged to the Riki whānau.
Ko Oraki te maunga | Ko Tarakihinui te awa | Ko Horouta te waka | Ko Ngāi Tāmanuhiri te iwi | Ko Rangiwaho te marae
Rangiwaho Marae sits at the foot of Ōraki, in the area known as Tawatapu. Rangiwaho is named after the grandson of Tāmanuhiri. Rangiwaho was the father of Tutekawa, fondly remembered as ‘The Man’ by the people of Ngāi Tāmanuhiri
Today, the area is known as Bartletts, after Tom Bartlett. He was an early whaler and prominent businessman, who married into the iwi. Bartletts is situated thirty kilometres south of Gisborne, on State Highway 2. The old school on the left and the marae on the right are the last buildings you see on the road before it ascends into the Wharerata forest.
Rangiwaho sits next to his wahine Rongomaiwaiata (our wharekai) which was opened in 2018.