Morrinsville-Kiwitahi Road, Kiwitahi

  • Kauhanganui, Kiwitahi.
    Copyright: NZ Historic Places Trust.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 1 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 4155 Date Entered 21st September 1989


City/District Council

Matamata-Piako District


Waikato Region

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Historical Significance or Value

This building was built in the Maungakawa hills, moved to Waharoa in 1901 and then transported to Rukumoana Pa, Kiwitahi in 1917. It was the second Maori Parliament building to be constructed, the first having been burnt out in 1898. Kauhanganui was a meeting and discussion place for Maori leaders from all over New Zealand. It had both an Upper and Lower House. During the early twentieth century, the building at Rukumoana was largely used to deal with Maori land problems, seeking settlement by negotiating with central government in Wellington.

The building is closely associated with the Maori King movement, established in 1857. This movement was centred on the Tainui tribes of the Waikato region, and Wiremu Tamehana ("The Kingmaker"), representing the moderate wing of the two main parties, was one of the most important figures associated with the movement. He was the principal advocate of a Maori parliament and may have been responsible for the design of this structure.


The principal architectural significance of this building lies in its marriage of a pakeha building format (Victorian secular architecture) with indigenous traditions (Maori meeting houses). The extension of the gable at each end of the building suggests a vestigal porch structure and the high and wide pitch of the roof connotes the traditional style of a meeting house. The placement of two carved wooden decorations at the apex of the roof is the only exterior concession to the building's importance as a meeting place.




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Physical Description


Single storey rectangular building with the entrance on the long side symmetrically flanked by four rectangular double-hung windows. Decoration is simple with bargeboards applied to gable ends and a carved finial. Application of vertical timbers above and below the openings on each side denote the ribs of a traditional Maori meeting house.


The building has twice been moved.

Notable Features

Wooden decorations have been removed from the roofline, but finial still exists and is a special feature.

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1917 -

Construction Details

Timber weatherboards with corrugated iron roof.

Information Sources

Oliver, 1981

William H. Oliver, The Oxford History of New Zealand, Wellington, 1981

Phillips, 1955

William J. Phillips, Carved Maori Houses of Western and Northern Areas of New Zealand, Wellington, 1955

Gorst, 1959

Keith Sinclair [ed], The Maori King, Hamilton and London, 1959 (original 1864)

Other Information

This historic place was registered under the Historic Places Act 1980. This report includes the text from the original Building Classification Committee report considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of registration.

Please note that entry on the New Zealand Heritage List/Rarangi Korero identifies only the heritage values of the property concerned, and should not be construed as advice on the state of the property, or as a comment of its soundness or safety, including in regard to earthquake risk, safety in the event of fire, or insanitary conditions.