Matarau Urupā - ANZAC Special

May 15, 2022, 7:15 p.m.

Wiremu Smith (Chairman Matarau Urupā, Ngāi Takoto) spoke to Te Hiku Media about the role of kaitiaki urupā and the importance of preserving history and caring for kōhatu (memorial stones). 

“It’s very important work for us to care for our church, the gravestones and to bring our people together, to keep our people connected so they know where they’re from and who they descend from.”

He iti marangai e tū ana te pāhukahuka, he iti pioke nō Rangaunu he au tōna. 

Hato Hohepa is the name of the Anglican Māori Church in Awanui, the church stands in the Matarau Urupā where many of the tūpuna of te iwi o Ngai Takoto and te iwi o Te Aupōuri lay. The current church building is now 135 years old, having been established on 2 May 1887. Hato Hōhepa and Matarau has been the location of many tribal event including iriiri, mārena, nehu and hura kōhatu. The urupā itself is ancient in origin and closely connected to the Ngai Takoto marae of Waimanoni and Mahimaru. 

History compiled in 1987, for the centennial of Hato Hōhepa includes significant events celebrated at Matarau. These include the confirmations of respected elders such as Matilda Murray, Aggie Smith, Myra Berghan, Roly Jones, Doug Miru and Jeb Brown.

Other significant events that have occurred within this urupā include the baptism of 70 candidates by Rev. William Williams, which included Rawiri Awarau and Matenga Paerata in 1839. The wedding of Ngaruhe Paraone to Matahinerangi Awarau on the 24th April 1848. Nopera Panakareao was married to Erenora by Rev. Richard Taylor in 1841.

Famous chiefs buried at Matarau include Hupata Kaaka, Hōhepa (Te Kiri) Kaaka, Rev. and Henare Paraone. Rev. Henare Paraone was a descendant of both Rawiri Awarau and Paraone Ngaruhe who were signatories of Te Tiriti o Waitangi. The people associated with the church continue to advocate for He Whakaputanga me Te Tiriti o Waitangi. 

Information compiled for the celebration of 100 years for Hato Hōhepa provides a detailed history of the whakapapa of events that have taken place at Te Urupā o Matarau. Many of the men from Ngai Takoto who served in WWI and WWII are buried at Matarau.

“On June 8th 1892, our eldest parishioner, Raiha Jones, was born. Born at Spring Camp, she was the daughter of Anaru Tuna Anderson (Andrija Kleskovic) and Erina Hohepa Kaaka…… Raiha raised a family of 17 in Mahimaru, Awanui. She entered the ‘Mothers Union’ in 1939” (extract from St Josephs 100 Years). 

Tags: Ngai Takoto Urupa Matarau

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