About Tūrangawaewae Marae, Ngāruawāhia.
29 River Road, Ngāruawāhia, Waikato,
Tūrangawaewae Marae, located in Ngāruawāhia in the North Island’s Waikato region, has become a showcase institution for Māoridom. Its name means ‘a place to stand’.
Over the years the marae has hosted countless dignitaries and world leaders, including Nelson Mandela and HRH Queen Elizabeth II.
The marae was built on land purchased in 1921 by renowned Tainui leader, Te Puea Herangi (1883-1952) whose mother, Tiahuia, was the daughter of the second Māori King, Tāwhiao Te Wherowhero of Ngāti Māhuta, and his senior wife, Hera. Tūrangawaewae remains the headquarters for the Māori King Movement (Te Kīngitanga). Until her death in 2006, the marae was the official residence of the sixth Māori monarch, Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu.
The marae includes a number of unique buildings constructed under the guidance of Princess Te Puea, including a carved Mahinarangi meeting house, built in 1929, and the exquisite Tūrongo House (1938), the Māori King or Queen’s official residence.
While Tūrongo house reflects both Māori and European architectural styles, it features interior and exterior carvings incorporating symbols important to the Kīngitanga movement. A seven-sided tower on the corner of the house represents the seven waka traditionally believed to have brought Māori to New Zealand.
Strong relationships established by Princess Te Puea with the Cook Islands House of Ariki and the Samoan and Tongan royal families continue to this day.
Waikato people share a bond with the Waikato River while Taupiri mountain, where many Waikato ancestors and chiefs, including all the Maori kings, are buried, is sacred to them.
These bonds are remembered in the tribal saying:
Ko Taupiri te maunga
Ko Waikato te awa
Ko Te Wherowhero te tangata.
Waikato is the river
Taupiri is the mountain
Te Wherowhero is the man.
Note: Central to Māori culture and community activities, marae are dedicated buildings representing the genealogy and stories of local iwi or people. Marae provide a meeting place for Māori communities for celebrations, bereavements, learning forums (wānanga) and meetings (hui).