Road Put Through
Maungapohatu, historic heart of the Urewera, can now be reached by a timber company's access road.
Last March about 1,500 people drove through to Maungapohatu to celebrate the official opening of the road. Heavy rain failed to dampen the ardour of the Tuhoe, who flocked to the village from all over the North Island.
A crowd of more than 100 people huddled high up on the Huiarau Range saw Sir Eruera Tirikatene officially open the newly-constructed road down to Maungapohatu village. Sir Eruera was Minister of Forests when permission was granted for the formation of the first part of the road through the Urewera National Park.
Welcomed to Maungapohatu
He was welcomed to Maungapohatu by Mr Paetawa Miki, leader of the Tamakaimoana people, and the Very Rev. J. G. Laughton, chairman of management of the proprietors of Maungapohatu. A prayer of thanks was offered by the Rev. James Irwin, Moderator of the Presbyterian Maori Synod.
Members of the Tamakaimoana tribe, assisted by Tuhoe people from Ruatahuna, had been preparing for the celebrations for months. The village population swelled from a normal total of about 15 to nearly 500 a few days beforehand, as a big team of workers prepared for the weekend of feasting and speeches.
Eight Miles Through Rugged Ranges
The road, financed and built entirely by the Bayten Timber Company, took five years to build. It drives in eight miles across some of the most rugged range country in the North Island, reaching a mile beyond the village to tap one of the richest remaining timber sources in the Urewera.
A huge hired marquee, other tents and the meeting hall were used on Saturday night as sleeping accommodation for more than 700 members of the Tuhoe people who stayed over the weekend. On Saturday night members of the tribe attended the annual meeting of the Maungapohatu Incorporation and discussed future arrangements for the farming operations due to start soon on the clearing surrounding the village.
To commemorate the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, the Wellington District Council of the Maori Women's Welfare League hostessed a social at the Presbyterian Hall at Stokes Valley last February 6. The guest of honour was the Mayor of Lower Hutt; invitations went mostly to residents in Stokes Valley who are members of kindred organisations, also to representatives of Maori clubs and committees within the Wellington district. Nearly 200 people attended a very happy and successful evening.
Mrs Maria Totara, of Kaihu near Dargaville, last March celebrated her one hundredth birthday.
Mrs Totara, who is also known as Aunty Pikaki, comes of a long-lived family. The eldest of eight children, she still has a brother and two sisters living. They are Mr Sam Daniels, also of Kaihu, who is aged 98; Mrs M. Makoare, also in her 90s; and Mrs P. Young, of Cockle Bay, Auckland, youngest of the family at 76.