Tuurangawaewae Marae: A Place to Stand

Project commenced:

The guiding research question for this project are:

1) How has Tuurangawaewae Marae fostered community mauri ora (wellbeing) within Waikato and in Te Ao Maaori more broadly?

2) What role has Tuurangawaewae Marae played as both a repository and a place of action for te Reo me ngaa Tikanga in Waikato and in Aotearoa-New Zealand?

3) What are the factors underpinning Tuurangawaewae Marae’s endurance as a centre for Maaori political action and manaakitanga (caring for community) both nationally and for Waikato whaanau

This is a community-led project where the entire research team whakapapa to Tuurangawaewae Marae. The key researchers: Professor Tahu Kukutai, Dr Dean Mahuta, Dr Marama Muru-Lanning and Mr Shane Solomon.

The research will produce a book celebrating one hundred years of Tuurangawaewae Marae (also known as Tuurangawaewae Paa), and telling the story of Tuurangawaewae – the headquarters of the Maaori King Movement and the world’s largest marae. Born from the ravages of the New Zealand wars and the massive land confiscation and poverty that followed, Tuurangawaewae stands as a potent symbol of Maaori independence, tenacity and resilience. Combining narrative, archival research, interviews with whaanau and illustrations, this book will trace the ebbs and flows of Tuurangawaewae from its difficult early years to its present-day position as a prominent centre of Maaori culture and politics. It will open up a part of Aotearoa’s history with which few New Zealanders are familiar.

Intimately associated with the Kiingitanga, the marae’s history is resplendent with great leaders, some of whom have been written about in other texts such as Michael King’s Te Puea (King 1977, Belgrave 2018, Jones and Biggs 1995). Against that backdrop, this book will also focus on documenting the histories of the everyday, making visible the hitherto untold stories of the whaanau who worked together to build the enduring legacy that is Tuurangawaewae. In so doing this book is a social history of how a community’s commitment to a vision of mana motuhake and self-sufficiency enabled it to survive a World War, economic crises, pandemics, Paakehaa opposition and whaanau dispersion, to build a marae for the Kiingitanga, its people and the people of Aotearoa more broadly (Durie 1998, 2005, Walker 2004).