Nukutaimemeha, an elaborately carved meeting house, has been given back to the Maori people of Carterton by the Wellington Diocesan Board of the Anglican Church.
The meeting house was built for the esteemed late Major Paraone Tunuiorangi and was given to the church by his only living child, Mrs Patihana Kokiri. The gift was made in memory of Mrs Kokiri's late husband, the Rev. Patihana Kokiri, who spent 17 years working amongst his parishioners in the Wairarapa.
Born in Gladstone as Mihipa Te Inuwai, Mrs Kokiri now lives at Tengae Junction, Rotorua, where she retired with her husband.
During his military career her father, Major Paraone Tunuiorangi, visited England, where he was given charge of the New Zealand Regiment at Queen Victoria's diamond jubilee celebrations. He was presented at Court and received from the Queen a jubilee medal and a valuable ceremonial sword.
Built between 1912 and 1916, the meeting house is in good condition. Some of the carvings were done by Tehuruhuru, a Maori carver, with the help of a younger brother Taimona, and they were completed by the late Hepi Te Heuheu, son of the late Heuheu Tukino, of Taupo, who was a member of the Legislative Council.
The pou toko manawa of Nukutaimemeha, which is named after Maui's canoe, is appropriately carved to depict Maui hauling the North Island from the sea while an angry sea-god holds it by the tail.