About Wharekawa Marae
During the 1920’s and 1930’s Te Puea Herangi was visiting many marae throughout Hauraki, raising funds for Tuurangawaewae and the whare “Mahinarangi”, the original Kimiora and Ngaa wharemoe Pare Waikato and Pare Hauraki. During her visit under ‘Te Pou o Mangatawhiri’ she lay down a koha to Ngaati Paaoa and Ngaati Whanaunga to help build a marae. When Tutawhiao Ngakete, of Ngaati Paaoa went to retrieve it, he was told by the senior kuia to return it. This kuia was Whakatuutuki, otherwise known as Kii or Nanny Kii to many. She held great mana among the people. It is said the reason for not accepting this koha is because the project which Te Puea was promoting, was of much greater importance than that of her own people. Besides Pare Hauraki whare was established at Tuurangawaewae for her iwi. (E tuu whakahoki te koha nei ki te Kaahui Ariki moo raatou hei whakatuu he whare moo te Kiingitanga moo te iwi o Pare Hauraki me Pare Waikato teenaa pea maa aaku mokopuna hei whakatuu he whare moo taatou , aa te waa).
A kaauta (corrugated cooking shed) stood on the premises during the late 1920s – 30s but was taken down. The people congregated often to discuss many issues within Hauraki. About the late 1940s- early 1950s following the Second World War, an attempt was made to build on the papa whenua, using local resources and the haukaainga made their own blocks and building materials. Unfortunately, this was later condemned due to the materials being inferior.
The mid 1960s saw the revival of many whaanau who had established themselves outside of the rohe in secure employment, home ownership and education for their families, wanting to re-establish ties with their kaumaatua and the marae back home. Several hui were held by whaanau committees to form fundraising events. Some of those were Muri Aroha Kaiaua, Wharekawa committee, and many other whaanau initiatives. By the late 1960s, enough funds were raised to build the ablution block and to transport a building from Ardmore teachers training college Papakura, for a wharemoe/whare tuupuna which is still in existence today. In 1972 the dining hall was built on site, and in 1982 further work was carried out under the PEP training scheme, a government initiative that was assisted by Huakina Trust. The kitchen block was also built during this time. The club rooms were built during the early 1980s where the Koohanga Reo was situated for 25 years, with a further refurbishment to the kitchen in the late 1980s.
With the support of the Iwi, Ngaati Paaoa agreed to participate in the 1990 Treaty of Waitangi 150 years celebrations and received funding to build a waka taua. Te Kotuuiti Tuarua was commissioned and subsequently launched in 1989 for which a wharau was built to house Te Kotuuiti Tuarua on the Marae Reservation.
In the early 2000s plans were underway for a new wharenui to be built and by 2004 our present wharenui Paaoa Whanaunga was erected. This wharenui is utilised for many waananga , hui ora and hui mate and a number of celebrations for marae whaanau and those we host.
Wharekawa Marae is a home away from home for the descendants of Paaoa Whanaunga and encourages all manuwhiri and the wider community to utilise the facilities as a place to waananga, discuss, debate, celebrate, learn, mourn, rejuvenate and heal while experiencing our beautiful moana and paataka kai.
Currently, Wharekawa marae is in the planning stages of our marae development and we are looking to upgrade our facilities while looking broadly at other opportunities we can provide while simultaneously empowering whaanau with waananga on hauora, tikanga, toi and especially environmental sustainability to ensure the long-term survival and prosperity of our people. Please contact us for more information about Wharekawa Marae.