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Waikirikiri Marae: Shared experiences of the wharemate

Abstract

In Te Urewera, wharemate (shelters in which the deceased receive their final farewells) have traditionally been temporary structures. In the 1980s, a new practice was introduced in the Ruātoki valley with the erection of permanent wharemate facilities. One was erected at Waikirikiri marae (tribal meeting grounds and associated buildings) in 1989. Knowledge and discussion regarding wharemate at Waikirikiri marae have changed over the years, and a whole generation has not been fortunate enough to experience tikanga (correct procedures, customary practices) that prevailed prior to the introduction of the permanent wharemate building that is there today. These changes are recorded in this paper through the shared stories of three kaumātua (elders) from Waikirikiri. This paper is a summary of Hare Rua’s thesis study, the data for which was collected in 2009. This work forms part of the Tangi Research Programme, a collaboration between the School of Māori and Pacific Development and the Māori and Psychology Research Unit at The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand

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