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No. 43 (June 1963)
– 37 –

Meeting at Iwitea

Iwitea, a small pa tucked away off the Wairoa-Gisborne Road a few miles from Wairoa, and at the head of the Whakaki Lake, was the scene recently of the opening of the fifth Te Poho o Tahu meeting house. The predecessors of the present building had all either burnt down or rotted away in the last century.

Tahu himself was the ancestor of the Iwitea Maoris, and lived several centuries ago.

The building itself displays a new departure from the conventional Maori type, where carvings and other decorative artistic forms of Maori culture are in plentiful evidence. The Rev. Canon Rangiihu, who conducted divine service on the day, referred to the completed building as a perfect example of a ‘half-caste culture’. By this he meant that, instead of carving the various panels, the cultural designs have been painted, thereby giving a half Maori, half Pakeha effect.

The highlight of the function, which was led by Sir Eruera Tirikatene, and attended by a very large crowd, was the spirited discussion of the pros and cons of the Treaty of Waitangi in the afternoon. It was apparent, even among the real diehards of the leaders of the respective tribes present, that there is no unanimity about the revival of the claims for the full implementation of the terms of the Treaty. As it was, and this was emphasised by Sir Turi Carroll, it was agreed that the best way to regard this very important document, was to examine it in the light of the present day conditions, and to see which of the conditions agreed upon by our ancestors, would be feasible and acceptable today.

There were no resolutions passed, and the matter gained no friends, nor lost any.

—E. H. NEPIA