Maori buildings celebrated in new Maori Television series

Every building has a story, especially when that building is a whare nui. The new Maori-language series WHARE TAONGA takes us on a special journey to some of New Zealand’s best-known whare nui, or meeting houses, to uncover their stories.

The Treaty House at Waitangi and whare at Parihaka Pa are among the buildings celebrated in WHARE TAONGA, a beautifully-crafted 13-part series that starts on the Te Reo channel on May 20 at 8.00pm. The series premieres on Maori Television on July 2 at 8.00pm.

WHARE TAONGA explores each whare’s design and construction, but also delves into the mauri and wairua of each building to explore their cultural and historical significance, such as the ancestors they embody and their roles in our social and political history.

“These buildings are not only beautiful physical structures, they are also vessels for stories of hapu and iwi and Aotearoa as a nation,” says producer Megan Douglas, of Scottie Productions.

“Those who live in and around these whare have strong emotional relationships with them, and we were privileged to have people share quite personal stories about the whare’s presence in their lives.”

WHARE TAONGA was a collaboration, with hapu and iwi involved in the story-telling process for their whare.

The first eposide, Mataatua, visits Whakatane, where Ngati Awa’s whare nui Mataatua was re-opened last year after more than 130 years travelling the world.

The whare, built in 1875, left home in 1879 on the orders of the Government, which sent it as an exhibit to Sydney, Melbourne, London and then Dunedin.

By the time it was returned to Ngati Awa in 1996 as part of a Treaty of Waitangi settlement, Mataatua was badly damaged; its restoration and reopening in 2011 was an emotionally and historically significant event for the tribe.

In the other episodes:

Te Pa o Parihaka visits the whare housing the stories of Taranaki’s pacifist revolution.

Te Tiriti o Waitangi explores the humble whare nui at the centre of our Treaty history.

Hinemihi tells the story of a whare nui that survived the destruction of the 1886 Tarawera eruption, only to be to be relocated to an English estate.

Te Aute visits the Hawke’s Bay college of the same name, opened in 1854, and reflects on its history through the eyes of former students, among them Māori Television presenter Julian Wilcox.

Tatai Hono visits the inner Auckland church and marae of the same name that became a cultural centre for urban Māori in the 1960s. The late Canon Hone Kaa is among those who tells its stories, and the interview he gave for WHARE TAONGA is believed to have been his last.

Tama te kapua explores the ornately-carved whare nui that embodies the Arawa waka captain Tama te kapua.

Hinemahuru travels to East Cape, where Hinemaharu and the stunning Raukokore Church hold the histories of Te Whānau a Apanui.

Tapeka records the story of Ngati Tuwharetoa’s whare nui overlooking Waihi Beach.

Te Rewarewa visits the Ngai Tuhoe marae of the same name at Ruatoki, which has, unusually, two whare nui – Te Rangi Moaho and Te Kura Mihirangi. Tame Iti is among those who recount their stories.

Te Rere i Tiria tells the story of Tumatauenga at Moerewa, built in memory of the Maori Battalion and one of the few carved whare nui in Te Tai Tokerau.

St Paul’s Memorial Church tells the story of Whanganui’s strikingly-decorated monument to Christianity.

Te Poho o Kahungunu visits the 100-year-old Porangahau whare nui of the same name, which remains one of master carver Ihakara Hokowhitu McGregor’s greatest achievements.

WHARE TAONGA has been created by Scottie Productions, which made the popular and award-winning Māori Television series WHARE MAORI (winner, Best Information Programme, Aotearoa Film and Television Awards).

WHARE TAONGA is another lovingly-crafted series that allows iwi to share their celebrated buildings with all of Aotearoa.

The New Zealand Historic Places Trust Pouhere Taonga says that WHARE TAONGA is a long-overdue exploration.

Kaihautu Te Kenehi Teira says, “We, us, the nation are so lucky that this series is finally picking up this whole unexplored area of our culture and heritage.”

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