Whaerenui at home in Germany
Mon, 08 Oct 2012 8:04a.m.
By Melissa Davies
The once-controversial sale of a Maori meeting house from Rotorua to Germany has been settled with an emotional service in Hamburg.
Representatives from Te Arawa travelled there to celebrate a million dollar restoration project to mark its 100th anniversary - and they're now happy that the Germans will be looking after it.
“When we left New Zealand to come here a couple of weeks ago our people said let’s see if we can bring it home. But we are here to celebrate 100 years. I think for me personally, it's in good nick, it's been well looked after. There's a lot of attention. There's a lot of energy put on this house to look how it looks now,” says Te Arawa’s Mauriora Kingi.
Restoring the wharenui has been a long and expensive project as $1.2 million dollars was raised from Maori trusts and the German government.
“It's difficult because very emotional. I was nearly crying because 20 years that I have longed for this moment and we are really happy,” says Hamburg's Museum of Ethnology director Wulf Kopke.
Mr Kopke says the museum returned Maori heads to New Zealand but thinks Germany is now Rauru's rightful home.
“We think this house came here against all odds and it seems the spirits wanted it here but there has to be a meaning. This is the ambassador of New Zealand. This is the ambassador of Maori culture here and I think it will be very beneficial,” he says.
The wharenui has been attracting huge interest from the locals, who spilled out the door for the official opening.
Rauru has been restored true to its original carving and design but there is one modern addition - the carvings have been fitted with a sensory alarm which sounds a warning when they're touched. Only the people of Te Arawa are allowed to touch these carvings.
The German caretakers of Rauru say being allowed to keep the wharenui has touched them in return.
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9/10/2012 5:40:31 a.m.
a wonderful film about the Maori house
Many greetings from Hamburg
9/10/2012 1:36:30 a.m.
Thanks for looking after our stuff Germany. Cheers!
8/10/2012 9:11:26 a.m.
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