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An unusual feature of the new building is the peaceful appearance of the tekoteko
Queen Te Atairangikaahu declared open the new meeting house at Bethlehem, Tauranga, on 26 April, with full traditional ceremony.
Since the old house was pulled down in 1964, a great deal of work has gone into the fine new building. Some of the old carvings have been included, but most have been prepared over the last four years by a team of carvers trained by Mr Tony Tukaokao, under the auspices of Auckland University's Extension Department. Other carvings have been contributed by notable carvers throughout New Zealand. Many of the patterns in the old building were copied in the new tukutuku panels made by local women under the tuition of Mr Pine Taiapa of Tikitiki.
Following the speeches of welcome and the opening ceremonies, the many visitors were entertained by the Maungatapu and Ngaruawahia Brass Bands and the Maharaiah Junior Maori Cultural Group, and were served a delicious hangi meal.