Kaitieki o Ngati Maru, Ngati Kaipoho, Ngai Tawhiri, Ngati Ruapani ki Turanga

Te Kuri a Tuatai History

Te Kuri a Tuatai Marae represent the hapu of Ngai Tawhiri and Te Whanau a Iwi and is situated on the  Awapuni lands, Awapuni 1L2F.

The wharenui was Te Poho o Materoa was built in the 1880’s, led by Ngai Te Kete with carvers from as far as Waipiro Bay assisted with the work. The ridgepole was presented by Tuwharetoa, with Raniera Te Heuheu being one of the carvers. Two figures commemorated on the poutokomanawa inside the whare were Tawhiri and Rongoteuruora, the tekoteko Kuriwahanui. The wharenui was opened in 1882 and used extensively over the next 30 years but gradually fell into disrepair and was dismantled in 1920. The whare was replaced and stood alongside the church, hall and wharekai, sadly these were to be lost by fire with the only remainder being the commemoration to Kataraina Kahutia, daughter of Ngai Tawhiri, Whanau a Iwi leader Kahutia and sister to Riperata Kahutia, an influential person of the 19th century Rongowhakaata affairs.

Te Kuri a Tuatai was the home and refuge to many families in the early 20th Century, the late Rapiata Darcy Ria talked of close to twelve whanau who were born and raised at the Marae, where monthly services were held with the old people coming from Kaiti with kaimoana, much kai was gathered from the Waikanae and Cut for sharing with the families including many pakeha as they struggled with the depression years. The marae was also a place of healing and contains a mass grave of approximately 150 individuals who died in the 1918 influenza epidemic. Eventually families gravitatied back to Manutuke while the Marae became in the contemporary times the Marae became a place for PEP programmes, Kohanga, Marae based Social Services and Kaumatua Flats. Today an exciting initiative is the annual Rythym and Vines festival where close to three thousand visitors for near a week are camped and cared for on site.

Te Kuri a Tuatai Marae Komiti and Trustees have a development plan which in the near future become a reality.

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