Waipuna Marae

Panguru Church Photo courtesy of Stuart Park, NZ Historic Places Trust

St Peter's Church
Photo courtesy of Stuart Park, NZ Historic Places Trust

Waipuna Marae, is located near the local urupa (cemetery) at Panguru. This marae depicts the history of the ancestor 'Kupe.
The Waipuna Marae whanau (family) has expressed a desire to introduce tourists to the marae so that they can enter into and experience the traditional Maori ways of communal living by the whanau and extended whanau. Although the inevitable changes have taken place over a period of time, visitors are always greeted by the traditional welcome, and hear the stories and legends as seen through the eyes of the Maori.


The visitors will be accorded the welcome onto the marae, i.e., the welcome by the Kai Karanga (welcome call), and while in the Wharenui (meeting house), two speakers will greet them. The visitors are obliged to reply after which the traditional greeting by a hongi (touching of noses) and hariru (handshake) will take place. This will complete the formal part to the visit.

While there may be a schedule to follow, management of the marae will try to keep things as informal as possible, creating perhaps a more relaxed time to oneself on the marae.

Overnight Stay

Panguru Church interior Photo courtesy of Stuart Park, NZ Historic Places Trust

St Peter's Church interior
Photo courtesy of Stuart Park, NZ Historic Places Trust

If the visit is an overnight stay, it is envisaged that the time of arrival and welcome will perhaps coincide with the preparation of the traditional Maori hangi. The visitors may want to experience this being part of the evening meal. After dinner the visitors will be given time to either unpack and refresh themselves or tour the marae complex, which is also running a few year programme of tukutuku panel work to enhance the marae and building 'Old Waipuna Wharehui' (old meeting house) Visitors will witness the preparation and intricate work and the history that will finally show on the tukutuku panel. This work together with the marae arts and crafts will be displayed in the "Tupuna Waipuna Wharekai."

The evening programme will consist of explaining Maori culture and commentary on historic events pertaining to the "Wharenui Te Puna I te Ao Marama' ( the meeting house 'Te Puna I te Ao Marama), and other events significant to the area.

Whina Cooper 1895-1994

Whina Cooper

Whina Cooper

Whina Cooper was born Hohepine (Josephine) Te Wake at Te Karaka in northern Hokianga on 9 December 1895. Her father was Heremia Te Wake, a leader of Ngati Manawa and Te Kaitutae hapu of Te Rarawa and the son of an American whaler. Her mother, Kare Pauro Kawatihi, was of Te Rarawa and Taranaki descent. Whina was the first child of her father's second marriage. Another daughter, Heretute, was born in 1897, and there were four half-brothers and three half-sisters from Heremia's first family.

Growing up at Te Karaka and, from 1904, the adjacent settlement of Whakarapa, Whina was profoundly influenced by her father's roles as community leader and catechist for the Catholic church, which had been established in the district since 1838. She received her Maori and religious education from Heremia, and showed an early interest in history and genealogy. Whina's precociousness combined with her vivacity led her father to treat her as his favourite child and successor, which created stress within the extended family.

Te Rarawa woman of mana, teacher, storekeeper, community leader

Te Rarawa woman of mana, teacher, storekeeper, community leader

From about the age of seven Whina attended Whakarapa Native School, initially walking the six miles between Te Karaka and Whakarapa village. In 1907, with financial help from her father's friend, Native Minister James Carroll, she went to St Joseph's Maori Girls' College in Napier for secondary education. There she learnt to keep records and accounts and conduct correspondence, took recitation, cooking and sewing, and played sport. Back in Whakarapa in 1911 she refused her father's request to enter an arranged marriage with the widowed leader of Ngati Tuwharetoa, Tureiti Te Heuheu Tukino V. She chose instead to work in the local co-operative store, where she displayed a gift for organisation.

In 1913 Whina was appointed trainee teacher at the Pawarenga Native School on the south shore of Whangape Harbour. She was one of three staff and the only one who was Maori. Her performance was praised but she became frustrated because parents sent their children to school by rotation and because she was frequently needed at home to help with community affairs. She resigned in 1914 and the following year became housekeeper at the Catholic presbytery in Rawene. She remained there nearly two years.

Soon after Whina left teaching, a dispute arose over the leasing of mudflats at Whakarapa to a Pakeha farmer, Bob Holland. He and his sons began to drain the estuarine swamp in preparation for sowing grass and grazing cattle. Maori used this area to gather seafood when it was inundated and raced horses there when it dried out. While Heremia sought to challenge the lease through Parliament and the court system, Whina, then aged 18, led a party of younger adults who filled in drains as fast as the Hollands dug them. The police were eventually called and the Maori protesters charged with trespass, but by that time intervention by the Northern Maori MPs Peter Buck and (his successor) Tau Henare had resulted in the Marine Department's withdrawing the lease . . .

The Warawara Forest

There is a serious threat currently presented by Kauri dieback disease to the future of New Zealand's kauri forests. At present the disease has not been recorded within the conservation area of the Warawara Forest (one of very few forests free of the disease), and it is vital that it stays this way.

The tracks in the forest are poorly formed and are not maintained; they are very muddy in many sections, so walkers have a relatively high potential to spread Kauri dieback disease into this forest (especially those who have visited other areas with kauri in Northland, most of which are infected).

There are currently no wash/disinfection station facilities within Warawara. Because of this risk, travelers are actively discouraged from visiting the Warawara Forest.

The forest covers an area of around around 10,000ha of native bush with some very rugged hill country that has been saved because it is virtually inaccessible. In 1913 the Royal Commission recommended it should be set aside as a reserve. It is one of the largest kauri stands in the country. The Warawara was one of the areas where Kauri trees were tapped for gum.

Whina Cooper referred to the Warawara in one of her speeches as "Te wairua o te iwi o Te Rarawa." "The living spiritual being of the Warawara people." The public conservation area is 6943 ha and this is surrounded by another 6566 ha of private lands, about half of which is also in forest.

The conservation area is now jointly managed by the local hapu, Te Rarawa iwi, and the Department of Conservation this relationship recognises the strong cultural connection of this ngahere to these local north Hokianga communities.

Logging initiated by the government in the 1960s-1970s removed about a third of the original kauri forest.