Māui Pōmare memorial unveiled

27 June 1936

Māui Pōmare statue at Manukorihi Pā, Waitara, 1936 (Alexander Turnbull Library, 1/1-006789-F)

An estimated crowd of 1200 Māori and Pākehā from around the country converged on Manukorihi Pā in Waitara, Taranaki, to attend the unveiling of a memorial to ‘one of New Zealand’s greatest men’, Sir Māui Pōmare.

During the ceremony, Governor-General Galway unveiled an imposing white Sicilian marble statue of Pōmare, and a beautiful newly carved wharenui (meeting house). 

The statue, created by Christchurch sculptor W.T. Trethewey, stands on a high bluff overlooking the pā and depicts Pōmare staunchly delivering an oration. The students of the School of Māori Art at Rotorua carved the wharenui, under the supervision of Sir Apirana Ngata.

Also in attendance were nearly 40 Members of Parliament, including Prime Minister Michael Joseph Savage and two of his predecessors, J.G. Coates and G.W. Forbes, all of whom spoke at the hui (gathering). Other significant guests included the Māori King Korokī Te Rata Mahuta, who travelled with a large contingent from Waikato and King Country to help open the new meeting house.

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