Ngāti Maniapoto reopens historic "house fit for a king"

By Kawe Roes

PHOTO/KAWE ROES: Kīngi Tuheitia Pōtatau Te Wherowhero VII makes his way to reopen his kings house on Te Kūiti Pā with Rāhui Papa leading the karakia ceremony. 

Ngāti Maniapoto has reopened its king's house, Te Ranga-a-Haurua, located at Te Kūiti Pā in the King Country, for King Tuheitia Pōtatau Te Wherowhero VII.

Sunday saw King Tūheitia, his tohunga, Rahui Papa and a group of Tainui kaumātua reopen the historic whare.

Brad Totorewa, spokesperson for the Kīngitanga, congratulated Ngāti Maniapoto and local hapū Ngāti Rōrā during whaikōrero "for a job well done", saying, "Te Kūiti Pā has a beautiful wharenui, a beautiful wharekai and now a beautiful king's house to match.

"Ngāti Maniapoto and Ngāti Rōrā have made refurbishments of a standard that other poukai marae can to aspire to.  A standard that is first and foremost fit for our king, for manuwhiri and our people in general.

"We have had many conversations on the poukai round on how best to care for our king and people.  Now, Ngāti Maniapoto has shown us all a way forward."

The king's house was a gift from Ngāti Maniapoto kuia Te Ata Hoani to King Te Rata and has been used as a residence for successive Māori monarchs when they are in the King Country since the 1930s.

The funds for the restoration were put aside by Te Ata Hoani years ago and "had been held for when Te Ranga-a-Haurua needed fixing" according to restoration project manager Aroha Te Kanawa. 

Another king's house is located at Maketū near Kāwhia and was built for the king's late mother, Te Arikinui Te Atairangikaahu.