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Mahupuku Memorial

The Ngati Kahungunu leader Hamuera Tamahau Mahupuku (c.1840-1904) is commemorated by a memorial at Pāpāwai Pa, near Greytown, Wairarapa.

Mahupuku memorial at Pāpāwai Pa, near Greytown, Wairarapa.

In its heyday Pāpāwai Pa was richly decorated. An ornately carved gateway opened onto the marae. A continuous line of carved figures, most of them facing inwards to symbolise peace between Māori and Pakeha, and all formed from a single totara tree, surrounded the area. The gateway and the figures disappeared when the area became depopulated after 1930.

The Pāpāwai marae has now been rebuilt. A new carved gateway, a replica of the old, was constructed. Fortunately a photograph of the old gateway existed to help modern carvers. The new monument was built in 1952 from pieces of the old one.

Detail of Mahupuku Memorial.

It consists of the four panels and two of the four Corinthian pillars from the former monument. At ground level there are two plaques, one commemorating the unveiling of the monument by Hon. Ben Couch on 22 May 1982, and the other stating that this monument was built from the remains of the old one by the Ministry of Works and Development.

Related links

Te Ara has details about Pāpāwai Marae in its Wairarapa section.

Learn more about Hamuera Tamahau Mahupuku in the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography website.

Updated on 7th October 2019