O friends it is wrong, it is evil. Our voice, the voice of Hauraki, has agreed that we shall retain the parts of the sea from high water-mark outwards. These places were in our possession from time immemorial ... Why do you desire to seize heedlessly upon these places? ... The men, the women, the children are united in this, that they alone are to have the control of all the places of the sea ...
Quote from 1869 petition to Parliament by Tanumeha Te Moananui
Ko Moehau me Te Aroha nga maunga
Ko Ohinemuri me Waihou nga awa
Ko Tīkapa te moana
Ko Hauraki te whenua
Ko Marutūahu te tangata
Ngati Tamatera te Iwi
Ngati Taharua te Hapu
Ko Taharua te Whare Tupuna
Te Moananui me Nicholls nga whanau
Our wharenui was built in the early 1890’s by our Tupuna Whaea Rihitoto Mataia. It was located on the bank of the Ohinemuri river in Paeroa on the Mura o te ahi land block.
The whare sat near our Urupa and at the time the complex comprised the whare, corrugated iron cook house and long drop toilets.
The complex was last used in 1956.
The whare does not contain any carvings. What makes the whare special is its distinctive tukutuku and kowhaiwhai.
The whare had its roof blown off by a hurricane in 1972, it took some time for whanau to effect repairs and the resulting damage was so severe that the original building is now surrounded by a shell which supports and protects it.
In 1982 the stopbanks were realigned to minimise the threat of flooding to the Paeroa township situated on the other side of the river. Our wharenui was relocated to its present site but our people insisted that the stop bank design was altered so our urupa could remain in its original location.
Our present marae site is legal under section 439 and was gazetted on 29 September 1991. Land surrounding the marae site is still in the ownership of Whanau.
The marae site, urupa and Whanau land in the immediate vicinity is zoned Marae under the Hauraki District Council district plan.
Renovation work on the building and art work is underway and Historic Places Trust are actively involved with us in planning and completing the work.
Whanau who affiliate to the marae are descendants of Rihitoto Mataia who is a direct descendant of Taharua, the eldest son of Tamatera.
Taharua marae has a population of about 1800 uri. The majority of our whanau live out of the Hauraki area with concentrations in Auckland, Hamilton, Rotorua and Wellington, overseas in Australia and a number in the South Island.
We have very strong links with Te Pai O Hauraki marae and use their facilities for our tangi and celebrations. This will need to continue until we conclude development of our own complex around our wharenui.
We have strong connections with other local marae, these being - Ngahutoitoi Marae, Tirohia Marae, Paeahi Marae and Kerepeehi and Waihihi Community Maraes.
Another building that is very important to our Hapu is the St Johns Anglican church which was built by our Tupuna Whaea on her land on Rotokohu Road and the complex (building and land) was gifted by her to the Anglican church.
The church was dedicated by the Bishop of Aotearoa, Bishop Bennett on Thursday 26th May 1932.
The church has served the people of Taharua and the wider community for many years and we need to acknowledge Hoha and Colin Sutherland for their work in maintaining the building and ensuring that regular services were held.
The church is a taonga of Taharua Marae and Trustees are seeking meaningful discussion with the Anglican church to have the building and land returned. We envisage that the church will form part of our marae complex and we will establish a Komiti to manage it and ensure that we exercise our kaitiaki responsibilities going forward.
Taharua Marae and Te Reo Māori
For many years Taharua marae has been supportive of learning Te Reo Māori.
Although our tangihanga are held on Te Pai o Hauraki or other local Marae, many of our people assist and participate to ensure good tikanga based practices are upheld.
Our marae has striven to re-open our Marae and as part of this we will need to be focused on learning Te Reo Māori, in particular for when we are conducting the formal settings that our marae will be required to undertake.
Many of our uri are marae based people who regularly attend and assist at the neighbouring marae, but we need to focus more on becoming matatau i te Reo and fully capable of running our own marae.
Over the years our Marae has striven to create a place where our mokopuna can flourish and in past years we had a thriving Kōhanga reo located at our marae, where many of our mokopuna attended and would learn Te Reo Māori.
Sadly with the passing of our Kuia our Kōhanga was closed but our desire to manaaki our mokopuna and instil within them te reo māori still remains strong.