Te Kūiti Pā - Where legends are made

By Tepara Koti
The late Koro Wetere - Photo / File

Te Tokanganui-a-Noho Marae, one of the oldest meeting houses in the country, is about to reopen following the completion of the major restoration project at Te Kūiti Pā.

Over the years, a number of notable kaumātua and kuia have been associated with this famous Ngāti Maniapoto marae, including the Honourable Koro Tainui Wetere CBE (Ngāti Maniapoto).

Koro Wetere was elected as MP for Western Māori (Labour) in 1969, with the largest majority of any candidate and held his seat until his retirement in 1996.  While politics became his passion for twenty-seven years, Tokanganui-a-Noho was his cultural centre where he served time as chair of the marae trustees. 

Credit: E Tū Kahikatea

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Born in Oparure, Te Kūiti, 22 June 1935, he was the younger son of Weo Maruatara Wetere and Te Aorangi Wetere (nee Eketone).  His family were devoted members of the Ratana Church and his mum was a descendant of Pepene Eketone, one of the earlier noted Ratana leaders. 

Koro was ordained as a Ratana Minister in the late 1960s and his wife also served as an Awhina in the church.

He married his wife Nedracita Takuora Edwards in 1960.

They have five children – three sons and two daughters.  Kruger Arepa Wetere, the second eldest son has just become a marae trustee following in his father’s footsteps.  

The Hon. Koro Tainui Wetere passed away last year in June and the memory of his passing and his contribution to the marae will be among the kawe mate acknowledged this Sunday as an integral part of the re-opening of Te Tokanganui-a-Noho.

Here is the programme for Sunday's ceremony as posted by the Te Kūiti Pā facebook page:

Te Kāea will have more updates throughout the week and a facebook livestream at the re-opening on Sunday.