This meeting house was opened at Ruatāhuna in Te Urewera in April 1888. It was named Te Whai-a-te-Motu (pursuit through the island) to recall the pursuit of Te Kooti by government forces. Te Kooti sought refuge in Te Urewera on two occasions – in early 1869 following his escape from the fortress of Ngātapa, and again in 1870 and 1871 before he fled to the King Country in early 1872.
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