‘Hear the whispering tide’
The present building was built in 1850 and was moved to its present site in 1886 prior to the railway line being established and clusters forming a town as a result of employment opportunities. at the request of Wī Tako Ngatata-i-te-rangi, chief of Ngāti Tawhirikura, Ngāti Kura, and Ngāti Hāmua hapū of Te Āti Awa whom historically inhabited the Kāpiti Coast. See https://waikanaewatch.org/2015/12/23/at-the-whakarongotai-marae-1908/. Amongst the Oamaru stone carvings in the garden surrounds are three significant ones representing the different Māori tribes (Iwi) that originated here – Ati Awa, Ngāti Toa and Ngāti Raukawa.
Ike spotted the magnificent ancient Kauri tree carving (Po whenua) in the Marae garden. The carved piece represents a story, one of a woman holding a white bird. The carving is called, Te Puna o te Aroha, “Foundation of Love”, and was commissioned in 1984. This carving signifies a unique cultural heritage, provides a ‘sense of place’, as well as, indicates ownership and the deep connection to land for Māori in New Zealand. Holistically, a marae and its carvings depict a strong spiritual relationship between the ancestors, the environment and the reputation or standing of the people who lived in the area and generally, the first inhabitants of New Zealand (Tangata whenua). Why are ‘Pous’ significant to Māori? Priests or anointed person/s (Tohunga) and visitors may pray to statues (Pou/carvings) to seek spiritual guidance, request goodwill for a meeting or seek ‘protection’ for a positive result or encounter. See https://teara.govt.nz/en/traditional-maori-religion-nga-karakia-a-te-maori
Important tribal meetings (Hui) are held here, as well as, unveilings (Tangi or Hura kohatu), birthdays (O huritau), family reunions, Māori teachings (Wananga), a meeting place for Māori to pay their respects to deities, (atua), preserve unique culture, as well as, participate in economic and political events in Waikanae. See http://teatiawakikapiti.co.nz/waikanae-marae-pa/ and https://www.kapiticoast.govt.nz/media/32911/heritage-trail-brochure-waikanae.pdf
Di wrote to the secretary of the Marae to explain what Ike was up to and received this lovely letter in reply: