16 Nov 2011

Descendant hopes hapu can purchase whare

7:11 am on 16 November 2011

A grandson of one of two Maori carvers who worked on what is now a privately-owned meeting house hopes his hapu can buy it and finish the work his ancestor started.

The whare whakairo, called Te Tiki a Tamamutu, was carved in the 1860s.

It was constructed by mastercarver Wero Taroi and his apprentice at the time, Tere Waitere.

Both men had connections to the Ngati Taraawhai hapu of Te Arawa.

The house was meant to be carved for the Ngati Tuwharetoa chief Hohepa Tamamutu of Oruanui but according to Tere Waitere's great-great-grandson, James Schuster, the chief sold it on to a European when it was half-finshed.

He says the house wasn't completed because Wero and his great-great grandfather, Tere hadn't been paid.

Mr Schuster says he'd like to see Ngati Taraawhai purchase the house and have the sub-tribe's people complete the unfinished house.

The whare whakairo is being sold by Webbs Auction House.

Tenders for the purchase close on Friday 25 November and it is expected it could fetch up to $12 million.