Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 31, September 1987

Visitors from all over New Zealand came to the opening of the new wharenui, Tamaoho, at the Otawhiwhi Marae, Bowentown at Labour weekend 1986. Once again the people of Ngaiterangi were together for this historic function.

Fine, misty rain cloud shrouded the locally important hill, Hikurangi, as the celebrations began to unfold.

The wharenui was opened by the Minister of Internal Affairs, Mr. Peter Tapsell, but before he did, he stopped and addressed the large crowd paying respect to the old ladies (kuia). He said Otawhiwhi was fortunate to have the older people. "We have customs for hundreds of years and we are not going to change them now", he said. "Don't invite me to a marae if you can't keep the customs".

Mr. Tapsell said he had much pleasure in opening the new wharenui. "Kia kaha kia manawa", he said (be strong, have heart).

Blessing - Before the key was turned to open the door of Tamaoho, there was a church service to bless the building. Voices during the hymn were strong echoing across the calm waters of the harbour.

Heavy rain had fallen earlier making the ground sodden. The dampness did not stop the display of enthusiasm by tangata whenua such as William Gardiner, Turi Te Kani and Billy Pio and by the many manuhiri (visitors).

The wero and challenge Ka Mate for the Minister was true Otawhiwhi tradition.

Now the carvings at the marae created mainly by the efforts of Sonny Taikato stand proud for all to see and enjoy.