Story: East Coast places

Rongopai meeting house

Rongopai meeting house

The Rongopai meeting house is at Waituhi, on the road between Ormond and Pātūtahi on the Poverty Bay flats. Built in 1888, it was a dramatic departure from the carved style that characterised most meeting houses. Its distinctiveness can be seen even in this distance shot, in particular the maihi (barge boards) and the panels on the paepae (front of the meeting house), which are painted rather than carved.

Writer Witi Ihimaera, for whom Rongopai is a family marae, described its painted interior panels as ‘tall trees, elaborately painted in greens, blues and reds ... fantastic birds flit through the forest. People climb about the branches, and the glittering creatures of Maori mythology twine among the rafters.’(Witi Ihimaera, Whanau. Auckland: Heinemann, 1974, p. 123)

Photograph supplied with permission from Rongopai Marae Trustees

Using this item

Tairawhiti Museum, Te Whare Taonga O Te Tairawhiti
Reference: 017.1-33(ii)

Permission of Tairawhiti Museum, PO Box 716, Gisborne, must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

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How to cite this page:

Monty Soutar, 'East Coast places - Poverty Bay flats', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 24 September 2021)

Story by Monty Soutar, updated 1 Mar 2015