Te Hapa o Niu Tireni and Te Kerēme

The Broken Promises of NZ and the Ngāi Tahu Claim

“Ngāi Tahu gathered at Te Hapa o Niu Tireni on 16 July 1907 to discuss what could be done about the Landless Natives fiasco. Te Kerēme o Ngāi Tahu rāua Ko Ngāti Mamoe: The Claim of Ngāi Tahu and Ngāti Mamoe was re-launched (Evison, 1997)”. 

Changing Times

European Settlement and Arowhenua Pā

The shift of the local Huirapa people to Arowhenua as a more permanent settlement, reflected the need to maintain a greater visible presence in light of increased European settlement in the vicinity. 

The Temuka township, 1km from Arowhenua, was quickly becoming a significant trading post in the region, and growth in the nearby port town of Timaru, along with the establishment of large farming stations throughout the region meant that local Māori communities were quickly becoming isolated from traditional lands and food gathering sites. 

Formal arrangements with the Crown were largely ineffectual at protecting Māori interests and Māori communities across the South Island were faced with difficulties around land ownership, protection of and access to cultural sites and traditional gathering areas, and unmet promises from the Crown around health and education. 

Peaceful Protest

Heke ki Omarama 1880

In 1880 one of the more historic events of the time was the peaceful protest of Te Rehe’s sons and extended family in the Hīkoi ki Omarama - Journey to Omarama. 

Te Maiharoa led a group of Arowhenua whanau on
a journey by foot to the inland site of Omarama to establish a semi-permanent settlement in protest of loss of lands and access to traditional gathering sites. The peaceful sit-in eventually resulted in complaints from run-holders and arrests were made as the protesters were forced to vacate. 

The journey to Omarama recognises the objections by our ancestors in regards to the sale of any lands and resources beyond the local foothills in the region. Inland lakes, significant waterways and gathering sites including those surrounding Omarama near the Waitaki, were considered still under the control and authority of Kāti Huirapa descendents. 

Te Hapa o Niu Tireni 1907 - Ng  ā  i Tahu chiefs and delegates meet to discuss Te Ker  ē  me – Ng  ā  i Tahu Claim at Arowhenua Marae. 

Te Hapa o Niu Tireni 1907 - Ngi Tahu chiefs and delegates meet to discuss Te Kerme – Ngi Tahu Claim at Arowhenua Marae. 

Te Hapa o Niu Tireni

Mō tātou a mō ka uri a muri ake nei – For us and our children after us 

As increased European se lement gathered momentum across the island, difficulties between local Māori communities and Crown became increasingly frequent. As early as the 1870’s, iwi leaders determined to build a meeting house at Arowhenua to meet the growing needs of the surrounding Arowhenua community, and to act as a central meeting place for hapū from around Te Waipounamu to address the significant issues of the time, namely grievances with the Crown. These discussions eventually informed what was later referred to as Te Kerēme – The Ngāi Tahu Claim. 

Arowhenua was an ideal location to discuss the challenges faced by Kāi Tahu communities throughout the island because it is geographically central. The Kāti Huirapa people were also renowned for their hospitality in accommodating guests and in 1905 the current building was formally opened with an extensive gathering of tribal, community and political leaders of the time. 

The naming of the whare was significant as it was to serve as a longstanding reminder of the loss of lands, resources,and rights of Māori communities throughout the South Island. 

Te Hapa o Niu Tireni – The Broken Promises of New Zealand or The Grievances of Crown was placed upon the whare to recognise the transgressions endured by Kāi Tahu. 

After many generations of discussion, correspondence, exchange, negotiation and finally legal action, the grievances of our people were finally acknowledged with both an apology and gesture
of compensation offered by the Crown in 1996. This resulted in the Ngāi Tahu Settlement Act 1996 in which the Arowhenua people were acknowledged legislatively as being represented by Te Rūnanga o Arowhenua. 

Anglican Holy Trinity Church Arowhenua 

An Anglican Church built entirely by the local Arowhenua community, was opened in 1866 by the Reverend Canon J.W. Stack. After a number of years the building required replacing and although it was documented there was some opposition from local followers of the Ratana faith, eventually it was agreed upon to rebuild on the basis that the facility would also be available for use by faith groups other than the Anglican followers. The new church building was opened in 1931 and is a unique feature within the Arowhenua community and wider region. 

Te Komaka - Ratana War Memorial Archway 

The Ratana faith has also held a presence in the Arowhenua community for many years. In 1904 a foundation stone was laid for a Ratana Memorial Archway by MP E.T. Tirakatene. In 1935 the carved Oamaru stone archway was unveiled
with known symbols of the Ratana faith and Māori design incorporated in 

an impressive dedication to those lost in the First World War. At a later stage dedications to those lost in the Second World War were added and an annual dawn ceremony is held on ANZAC day.

Regional and National Significance

Investiture ceremony 1994 for T  ā   Tipene O’Reagan (conducted by Governor General Dame Catherine Tizzard) was held on the mahau (veranda) of the whare Te Hapa o Niu Tireni, which was built in the nineteenth century and commemorates the Ng  ā  i Tahu claims (A Fire in Your Belly - Paul Diamond, 2003, p48). 

Investiture ceremony 1994 for TTipene O’Reagan (conducted by Governor General Dame Catherine Tizzard) was held on the mahau (veranda) of the whare Te Hapa o Niu Tireni, which was built in the nineteenth century and commemorates the Ngi Tahu claims (A Fire in Your Belly - Paul Diamond, 2003, p48). 


Te Tiriti o Waitangi,
Te Kereme 

Te Hapa o Niu Tireni is a precious building of living history that embodies a specific time period in the formation of our country.
While containing the stories and memories of many generations of hapū, community, and the nation it also strongly reflects the Treaty process. 

The century long process of negotiation and mitigation with the crownfor breaches of Te Tiriti o Waitangi was founded in the South Island by the establishment of Te Hapa o Niu Tireni, which is recognised in name and reputation throughout the country. 

Te Hapa o Niu Tireni is commonly translated as The Broken Promises of the New Zealand Government, the Grievances of the Crown, or Left out of New Zealand. For the Arowhenua people, this next phase of development signifies a moving forward from grievance and a turning toward the creation of a new future,. The revitalisation and expansion of this special building will mark a new beginning, whilst still remembering the past that Te Hapa o Niu Tireni represents. Grievances and broken promises of nationhood will increasingly become a tale of history and learning and less a way of life. 


Mihimihi (TE REO MAORI)

E ka wheturakitia ka noho i te korowai o Rakinui e whiti mai nei E whiti mai i Tawhiti Nuku tae noa ki te ao Hurihuri nei
Huri ake noa ki a tatou oraka kei ruka i Te Heke o Arowhenua
ki te huarahi ka hapaitia a tatou mana i te ao hurihuri nei
No reira
Tena koutou, tena ra koutou katoa. 


From Aoraki at the main divide, turn to the significant river of Waitaki, and journey to the ancient se lement of Waiateruati. 

Fly forth from Tarahaoa, to see thereafter Orakipaoa and the path travelled by the chief Te Rehe. 

By foot go forth to arrive at the whare, Te Hapa o Niu Tireni standing here before us. 

Behold the essence of life. 

To those that have passed on forever resting in the sacred cloak of the sky father Rakinui, shine down upon us. Glisten brightly from those distant lands into this ever-changing world. 

Turning now to us, the living, on a journey that will strengthen our integrity and position in this modern and ever-changing world. 

We greet all of you, all of you who are with us. 



Mai i te Pō ki te Whaiao ki Te Ao Mārama, ka rere te manu ki te taumata o Aoraki, ka rere te wairua o te whenua, ka rere te wairua o te tangata tae noa ki Kāti Huirapa ki Arowhenua. Tīhei mauri ora 

Te Runanga o Arowhenua Waiata

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