NEWS IN BRIEF …
Maoris in Canterbury, Westland and some North Island districts are helping to make tuku-tuku panels for the first traditional Maori meeting house to be built in the South Island in more than 100 years.
The meeting house is being built at the Rehua Maori Boys' Hostel in Springfield Road.
Maoris at Little River, Rapaki and Taumutu are being given instructions in the weaving which is the basis of tukutuku work, and Arahura and Foxton Maoris are collecting rare flaxes which will be woven into the frames of the panels.
Mrs Henry Toka has been appointed tutor for the tukutuku work by the Rehua Maori Mission Hostel committee.
The completed panels will line the walls of the meeting house between carvings being prepared by Mr Henry Toka.
Foundations have already been laid and soon a contractor will erect the frame and roof. After that, 25 of the hostel boys, apprentice carpenters, will complete the construction.
The National Trust of Great Britain is planning the rebuilding of the Maori meeting-house from Te Wairoa which was taken to England by Lord Onslow, Governor of New Zealand from 1889 to 1892.
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Memorial gates to the late chief, Takurua Tamarua, were recently unveiled at Otenuku Pa, Ruatoki.
Tamarua died last year at the age of 86.
The gathering in honour of the late chief was one of the largest of its kind seen in the district, and was representative of all tribes and sub-tribes in the Mataatu confederation. More than 800 people saw the unveiling of the gates, a handsome stonework and wrought iron memorial constructed by members of the Commonwealth Covenant Church.
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Three Maoris were included in the New Year's Honours conferred by the Queen; they are:
Mr Hokio Tarawhiti of Huntly, for services to the Maori community, becomes an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (O.B.E.). Mr Rangi Kapo Ratahi of Opunake, Taranaki, becomes a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (M.B.E.).
Miss Ruia Mereana Morrison, of Rotorua, is also made a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (M.B.E.). Miss Morrison's award is for services to sport as a tennis player. Miss Morrison won the New Zealand Women's Tennis Ladies' Championship for the third time this year.
A shipment of timber given by the Maori people of Puketapu Block, Taumarunui, and prepared by the New Zealand Forest Service, arrived in Britain last month and is now stored at the Onslow home which was given by the present Earl, grandson of the Governor, to the National Trust.
The decision that something must be done to preserve the meeting house, a mid-nineteenth century building, probably the most important Maori building outside New Zealand, was taken more than two years ago.
The original house was buried under mud and ash in the Tarawera eruption of 1886, but the excellent and vigorously executed carvings were not damaged. Hitherto it had been quite a tourist attraction.
Lord Onslow acquired the house from its Maori owners, brought the carved panels back to Britain, and rebuilt the house in Clandon Park garden as a museum for his collection of New Zealand relics.
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An £800 company with the Rev. Keith Elliott, V.C., as a shareholder, opened a new general store on Monday morning in the Wanganui River village of Pipiriki.
The community has been without a store since fire destroyed the old one and the 40-roomed Pipiriki House.
The store's opening closes the first stage of one of the community efforts which Mr Elliott has launched since his appointment to a Maori mission post in the Waimarino area about six months ago. He was formerly an Anglican vicar at Ashhurst.
The new store has been opened in the old Pipiriki schoolhouse, which the company purchased.
The enterprise has converted a bus into a travelling store and hopes to extend its provisions trade along the entire valley from Wanganui. It has also sought authority to retail petrol because Pipiriki is today without a petrol station, a source of worry to transport operators, residents in the community and summer travellers along the Wanganui River. The whole project is designed to improve the economic background of the Maori people in this part of the Wanganui River area.
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One of the best training grounds for Maori farmers is the Salvation Army farm training school at Hodderville. The farm, covering 2060 acres, has 25 trainees who undergo a two-year course. Of 90 youths who have graduated so far, 28 have been Maoris. The Hon. C. F. Skinner attended last year's prize ceremony, awarding top honours to Patrick Phillips.