King Tuheitia celebrates 100-year-old Māori parliament

By Kawe Roes


A little bit of drizzle didn't hold back more than 200 Kīngitanga devotees who celebrated with King Pōtatau Te Wherowhero Tuheitia VII. 

Karanga, waerea, and karakia were chanted by the kuia and koroua of Waikato and Ngāti Maniapoto to commemorate 100-years of Tūrangawaewae House at Ngāruawāhia on Monday morning.

LIVESTREAM: The Kīngitanga celebrate 100 years of Tūrangawaewae House in Ngāruawāhia with karakia ahead of the poukai at Tūrangawaewae marae across the Waikato river.

Tūrangawaewae House was built as a parliament house for the Kīngitanga and opened at Ngāruawāhia in 1919.

The house has been rarely used for parliamentary gatherings, but later housed a health clinic, the Māori Land Court, and the Tainui Māori Trust Board.

PHOTO: Originally intended to be built at Taupiri in the Waikato as a base for Kīngitanga but Tūrangawaewae House was built in Ngāruawāhia instead. 

Kīngitanga spokesperson Rāhui Papa says "it was great to see our young ones here at the ceremony who will be the custodians of the house for the next 100 years."

"The idea started with King Mahuta who wanted to buy land in Taupiri as a base for the Kīngitanga, but wanted the New Zealand government to buy the land, but that government never made it happen."

The house never got built during the reign of King Mahuta, but the king left some funds aside to help build Tūrangawaewae House which also lead to Tūrangawaewae later being established.

Papa says, "King Mahuta in the end brought land where his great-great-grandfather, King Pōtatau I stayed at the point where the Waipā and Waikato rivers meet."

When Te Rata became king in 1912 he and his cousin Te Puea Hērangi fullfilled King Mahuta's dream and made sure the house got built.

King Te Rata couldn't make it to the opening because he was sick.  Karakia were lead by Tiaki Hira while Te Puea Hērangi, Piupiu Te Wherowhero and Te Uira Te Heuheu broke the threshold of the house. 

In 1914, King Te Rata was the first Māori king to meet a reigning British monarch- King George V.  In 1927  his son Prince George (later King George VI) toured Aotearoa as the Duke of York. 


VIDEO/NZONSCREEN: Royal Tour 1927.

King Te Rata requested for the Duke and Duchess of York to stop their royal train and come into Tūrangawaewae House for a short time to be welcomed by the Kīngitanga, as the railway line was less than 100 meters away from the house and they would then be on their way.

PHOTO/Alexander Turnbull Library: A sour point the royal train that passed King Te Rata at Tūrangawaewae House which refused to stop to give an audience with Kīngitanga.  

"But it never happened, the Crown Prince instead being welcomed by the Māori people of Rotorua." says Papa.

King Te Rata was in a sour disposition according to Papa.

"[He] didn't go to Rotorua to see the crown prince, instead he just watched the royal train pass by Tūrangawaewae House".