Rongomaraeroa marae launched with dawn service blessing

By Ropata Matthews

The welcoming hands of the new ancestral meeting house, Rongomaraeroa are now open.

More than three hundred people arrived for the dawn service blessing of the new ancestral meeting house, ‘Rongomaraeroa’ at Mōkau marae in Whangarūrū in the northeastern tribal lands of Ngāti Wai.

When the decision was made to name the ancestral house Rongomaraeroa, it was to include everyone and also the connection of Māori ancestral genealogy to the Māori god, Rongomaraeroa, Mōkau marae elder Hone Sadler says. Everybody comes from the same womb from mother earth, he says.

Mōkau is the name of the marae and Te Uri o Hikihiki is the sub-tribe of Ngāti Wai. This is its third meeting house due to the last one being destroyed by fire in 2013.

“This ancestral meeting house has great significance for the people of Te Uri o Hikihiki and the marae of Mōkau” says Aperahama Edwards, Ngāti Wai, “It is especially important for those who were not able to take their dead back to the marae and grieve because there was no meeting house”.

Hepi Haika, who chairs Mōkau marae in Whangarūrū, says “To come through Ngāti Wai you must come through the doors of the new meeting house ‘Rongomaraeroa’, which are also the doors of Ngāti Wai.”