Story: Parliament

Māori affairs committee room: the first room (1st of 2)

This panorama shows the former Māori affairs committee room. This room, dedicated to the Māori affairs committee (then the native affairs committee), was opened in 1922 at the rear of the buildings when Parliament House was completed. Prime Minister William Massey and his ministers attended the Māori ceremony, which was followed by a banquet in the old Government House. Carvings denoting the entrance to a whare rūnanga (meeting house) were fixed to a wall and on the architraves of the doors to make the room appropriate for Māori to come together.

The room was renovated in 1955 under the supervision of John Grace, the private secretary to the minister of Māori affairs and a Tūwharetoa chief, to become a ‘show part of Parliament Buildings'. Red and black kōwhaiwhai patterns decorated the ceiling and cornices, the replica whare rūnanga entrance was restored, and tukutuku (woven panelling) was extended around the walls. A large panel reproducing the Treaty of Waitangi was mounted on a wall, which also displayed coloured portraits of notable Māori MPs James Carroll, Te Rangi Hīroa (Peter Buck), Māui Pōmare and Apirana Ngata. More recently portraits of Eruera Tirikātene and Matiu Rata have been added.

Following refurbishment and the creation of a larger new room (Māui Tikitiki-a-Taranga) for the Māori affairs committee in a more prominent position in the building, this room was reopened in 1996. It was given the name Matangireia (13th and uppermost heaven), a place where all iwi could meet in an environment of peace, harmony and tranquillity.

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How to cite this page:

John E. Martin, 'Parliament - The business of government', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 2 July 2022)

Story by John E. Martin, published 20 Jun 2012, updated 1 Feb 2015