Rangiwewehi celebrates 50 years

By Taroi Black

One of Rotorua's most experienced and beloved cultural haka groups, Ngāti Rangiwewehi, celebrates 50 years. Their lifetime members honoured that with the opening of a new multi-million dollar dining hall at their local marae, which also marks 50 years since the first hall was built.

It is a new chapter for the people of Awahou and Tarimano Marae.   

Actor and former leader of Ngāti Rangiwewehi haka group Temuera Morrison says, "A big thanks to Rangiwewehi, the workers, who opened this beautiful hall."

The multi-million dollar building called Te Aongahoro is named after a chieftess of the Te Arawa people, and is the home for one of New Zealand's most recognizable haka groups Ngāti Rangiwewehi.

The hall has seen the club secure two national kapa haka titles and 15 consecutive Te Arawa regional titles. 

Demolishing the original hall was a daunting task as it held 50 years of special memories for Ngāti Rangiwewehi and its cultural group.

The $2.3million dining hall has been in the pipeline since 2006 through the efforts of their iwi trustees to build a platform for future generations. It took a year to build through fundraising and was also supported by their iwi claims. 

The occasion marks new beginnings for the tribe of Ngāti Rangiwewehi during Matariki - the Māori new year.