Te Araroa Memorial

Memorial Memorial Memorial Memorial Roll of Honour

A crowd of 2,000 people gathered in the Te Araroa Domain on Anzac Day 1928 for the unveiling of the Matakaoa District First World War memorial. This was a pink granite obelisk set on a concrete base and inscribed with an elaborately worded dedication and the names of four local men who had given their lives: Privates H. Aramakutu, H. Hauiti, R. Ngatoro and W. Kahaki. A further 29 names of soldiers and airmen, both Māori and Pakeha, were added after the Second World War.

Ten years later Te Araroa got another war memorial with the opening of the new dining hall, Te Rongomaitāpui, at Hinerupe Marae in April 1938. This was dedicated to the glory of God and in lasting memory of those who fell in the First World War. Sometime after the Second World War the memorial obelisk was moved from the domain to a site in front of the marae.

Tragically, on 13 April 1996 Rongomaitāpui burnt to the ground and the nearby Hinerupe meeting house was gutted in a fire caused by an electrical fault. The entire marae complex  was  rebuilt and was reopened on 30 March 2002. (About this time the war memorial obelisk was moved again, being resited nearer St Stephen’s Anglican Church, which stands alongside the marae.)

A roll of honour in the Matakaoa RSA & Citizens Club also lists the names of the servicemen recorded on the obelisk. The names of local Māori men who served overseas during the First World War and of all local men who served in the Second World War or later wars can be found in Bob McConnell’s book, Te Araroa (pp. 391-2).

Sources: ‘Maori Ceremony’, Evening Post, 26/4/1928, p. 8; ‘Hopeful Sign: East Coast Maori’, Auckland Star, 26/2/1938, p. 15; ‘Flood Drama’, Auckland Star, 30/4/1938, p. 12; Bob McConnell, Te Araroa: An East Coast Community, Gisborne, 1993, pp. 303-5, 311-27, 391-2; Bob McConnell, Nga Konohi O Rongomaitapui Raua ko Hinerupe, Te Araroa, 1996, pp. 22-37, 44; Hinerupe ‘Mana Potiki’: The Opening of Hinerupe Marae, Gisborne, 2002; David Simmons, Meeting-Houses of Ngāti Porou O Te Tai Rāwhiti, Auckland, 2006, pp. 141-4; Bob McConnell, Out of the Ashes: The Hinerupe Story, Gisborne, 2011, pp. iii-6, 106-111 pasim.

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Bruce Ringer

Posted: 05 May 2017

Peggy McConnell is right, and I appreciate her feedback. Bob McConnell’s book, Out of the Ashes, makes it clear that the 1996 fire was caused by an electrical fault (eg. “With the recent arsons in the Ruatoria area much in the minds of the people there was much questioning as to the origin of the fire before it was finally accepted that it had started in the fuse box …”, p. 4). I will make the necessary correction.

Peggy McConnell

Posted: 01 May 2017

Rongomaitapui was not burned down by arsonists. It was an electrical fault. It is an affront to the Hinerupe whanau to suggest it was arson. You say you used Out of the Ashes as one of your sources,?;then you should have checked the newspaper write-ups on page 106 where you'd have seen that although as it was burning, even locals feared it was another uprising of "Rastas", later it was found most likely to be an electrical fault. I would appreciate a correction. Thank you.