Marae Buildings

 Te Ihi o Nehua Tomokanga Te Tawaka Earlier BuildingsKokiri    

Te Ihi o Nehua 

 te ihi o nehuaTe Ihi o Nehua was opened on 28th November 1998.This  was a significant time because the church had just celebrated its centennial year. When the church was
opened old newspaper reports said the weather was very bad with continuous rain. The day of the opening of Te Ihi o Nehua was one of the worst storms seen for many
years. For many this was seen as a blessing from the tupuna.
Te Ihi o Nehua – the name was decided after many hui and discussions with beneficiaries. The name was chosen because the cord that ties us together and keeps us linked back to the marae is the blood ties we have with Eru and Te Tawaka Nehua.

The names for the Kokiri and the Wharekai were also chosen. The Kokiri being Te Aranga Ake Rising Up – the Kokiri was raised and moved to make way for the new wharenui. The wharekai will be Te Tawaka - our tupuna whaea was well known for her hospitality. It is right that Eru and Te Tawaka should stand side by side.

The opening of the wharenui was also a time when many of our people were awakened to the call of the marae. In preparation for the opening we had two new waiata composed and held kapa haka practices so we would not have to sing – You Are My Sunshine.

When we sang and performed in the wharenui for the first time the old people had tears in their eyes. Te Ihi o Nehua was very real and evident in the people and in the wharenui.

Tomokanga – Te Whei Ao
 Tomokanga Te Whei Ao
  The tomokanga was opened on15th July 2006. People gathered on Friday evening (adults and children) to discuss the Kaupapa for the next day. Early the next morning in the darkness everyone gathered to begin the ceremony. As they walked slowly from the kokiri to the tomokanga the karakia prayers and chants could be heard in the darkness.
As the people approached the entrance to the tomokanga the question was asked ‘what is the name of this tomokanga?’ the reply could be heard ‘Te Whei Ao”.

Just as the karakia concluded, the lights in the wharenui were turned on and the Karanga came for the people to pass through the tomokanga for the first time to enter the wharenui.

 tomokanga pre ceremony meeting at the kokiri tomokanga mystery pre dawn ceremony 
 tomokanga karakia pre dawn ceremony the karanga to move through the tomokanga for the first time 

The tomokanga is the gateway to Te Ihi o Nehua. Some of the whanau attended carving classes and one of their projects was to build a tomokanga for the marae. In 2006 the marae also undertook to provide wananga (funded by Te Wananga o Te Awanuiarangi) for people to learn about Mäori language and culture. Carving was one of the courses on offer and our people took the opportunity to finish the tomokanga. As well as carving people also learned about tukutuku and kowhaiwhai design.

Beneficiaries discussed what they wanted the tomokanga to represent. It should provide a welcoming feeling to visitors, give them clues about who we are and reflect the nature of the people of the marae. The tomokanga reflects tupuna from early times; the carvings that will hang in TE Ihi o Nehua will reflect tupuna from recent times.

The ancestors at the entrance to the tomokanga are Rahiri (the paramount ancestor of Ngapuhi) and his father Tauramoko and mother Te Hauangiangi. The Maihi, Tähuhu, Pou, Heke and tukutuku panels represent the children of Rangi and Papatuanuku and the skills, resources and knowledge they provide
us to look after manaaki our people and manuhiri.
You can order a book about the Tomokanga e mail to

During the morning trees were also planted along the river bank to celebrate Matariki – a new tree planting for Matariki 

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Te Tawaka

Our wharekai Te Tawaka was opened in May 2015. After five years of fundraising we finally had enough to build. Fundraising was a huge effort from our whanau from all around New Zealand and overseas. Our australian whanau outdid themeselves with their koha, people bought our rau aroha, hangi, batons up, facilitating hui for fees, stalls we didiit all.

We had a new waiata written fo the opening called Rau Aroha. It was based on a poem about Te Tawaka that was written by Tawaka's grand daughter Bella. Our own Troy Kingi put a tune and actions to the waiata. 

Iy was hard work getting everything prepared for the opening. We acknowledge the grants from the ASB Trust and Lotteries. also from the Ngapuhi Runanga Hapu development fund for our chairs.

Finally after 17 years Eru and Te Tawaka are standing together.

 te tawaka The day of the opening. It was a lovely day, over three hundred people came. It was raining the few days before the opening but on the day it was drizzly in the morning but turned out fine.

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 kokiri 1980s   Kokiri 1980s before ot was moved

The kokiri was purchased in 1988. It was an old Marsden Point building and was originally located where the new wharenui Te Ihi o Nehua stands. For fourteen years this building was used as our wharenui and training centre. In 1998 it was transported to the other side of the marae to make way for the new wharenui.

kokiri 2014 Kokiri 2014 after it was moved 

The Kokiri was a place thatwas loved by everyone, there are many happy memories people have about Kokiri. Unfortunately we lost the Kokiri to fire March in 2015. This was devastating for our people. You can see some memories here.


Earlier Buildings

The garage (with brown roof) was the first building to be built in the 1970's. This came after a group of whanau met under the oak trees in the gorse covered marae and decided it was time to rebuild. This became the centre of activities at the marae, fundraising, committee meetings – there were a lot of interesting discussions and debates held in this first building.

The work-shed (white building)was opened on 14th October 1985 as part of work schemes that were being run on the marae. There were carving and Māori language classes.

 garage and workshop
The ablution block was the next building to go up in 1986. Whanau gathered to fundraise and then build; concreters, painters, labourers and willing helpers.  ablution block 1980s







Page last updated 17 Dec 2016