Trust beneficiaries vote to demolish 100-year-old whare raupo but court to decide

By Tamati Tiananga

A group of people from Ngā Ruahine in Taranaki have taken legal action to prevent the demolition of a traditional house made of raupō that's more than 100 years old. The Māori Land Court has agreed to an interim injunction to stop the demolition until the case is heard.

Ngāruahine kaumātua Hēmi 'Paki' Pokere says, "When I came out here to visit, security wouldn't let me in and I was a trustee and the trustees said you can't come in. But I said I was a trustee and they still wouldn't let me in."  

Whakamoe or Turakina 

Te Ao Marama understands at two separate meetings - annual general meetings in 2019 and 2020, trust beneficiaries voted for the building to be demolished or whakamoe. But Pokere says it should be restored for future generations.

Pokere says, "I want the history built up and left alone. There's a lot of history many people don't know about." 

Pokere says, "This [whare raupō] has a lot of history with a lot of people, and a lot of people that whakapapa to the place but having two families made it different. One family was a part of the house and the other family was given the whenua."  

Te Hanataua Trust response

Te Hanataua Trust chair Caroline Scott declined to be interviewed as the matter is being considered by the Māori Land Court. 

Pokere says, "I hope the legal process works for both sides and we come to normality rather than a disagreement between two families."

The Aotea Māori Land Court is to hear the case as a matter of urgency.