Kīngitanga supports return of Hinemihi from UK

By Kelvin McDonald
Photo credit / Stuff

Hinemihi, the wharenui that has been in the UK for 130 years, will receive a special Māori delegation tomorrow.

Representatives of the Kīngitanga will visit the wharenui that survived the Tarawera eruption in 1886 and relocation to Surrey, England six years later by the Earl of Onslow, a former Governor-General of NZ.

Makau Ariki Atawhai and Puhi Ariki Ngā-wai-hono-i-te-pō are leading a Kīngitanga delegation to the UK at the invitation of Prince Charles for Prince's Trust Week. The trust supports youth around the globe including rangatahi Māori.

The delegation is also commemorating King Tāwhiao's visit to England in 1884, where he and other rangatira tried to petition Queen Victoria to recognise tribal sovereignty and the promises made in the Treaty of Waitangi.

The Kīngitanga supports the return of Hinemihi to Aotearoa, which is expected to occur by 2025.

The National Trust, which oversees her care, completed conservation work on her carvings in 2019 and agreed they should not remain outside and unprotected.

A set of carvings are now underway for a new wharenui to replace Hinemihi, called Te Hono (The Connection), in a unique exchange negotiated by the Trust, Te Maru o Hinemihi, a group of UK-based Māori, and Heritage New Zealand.