Work is ongoing to complete the upgrades to Nga Tai E Rua Marae in Tuakau. Over Easter, the new whare moe (sleeping house) was dedicated by King Tuheitia Paki.
The marae is on Carr St, and was bought by a gentleman named Tai Porotu Matete Kukutai— known by most people as Poru Metete around 1926/28.
The following is a letter written by the late Kupi Clarke for a publication in the Tuakau and Districts Old Settlers Association book ‘Golden Memories’ produced for the 1942-1992 50 year celebration, about the history of Nga Tai E Rua and tells of the rich history this marae has.
Poru lived on George Street opposite where the Council office is now. His dream, as we call it, was to build a Pa in Tuakau for the people of Tuakau.
As many people would visit him and his wife, sometimes staying overnight, he decided he would build a hostel. It had three bedrooms, a fireplace and a place for a bed where people could sleep. Later, the hostel was used to house patients who had tuberculosis. TB huts were placed on the land for patients and many small houses were built. They came from as far as Port Waikato, Waikaretu, Mercer, Kaiaua, Pukekawa and many of the surrounding districts to visit the doctor.
As people continued coming, Poru and many others decided to extend the hostel, thus making a larger place for sleeping quarters. Pensioners would dig into their pockets and raffles were run for fundraising to buy timber and nails from Mr Bill Graham or Mr Percy Graham.
On 28 September 1929, Sir Apirana Ngata visited Princess Te Puea and a feast was prepared. Many people came, church services were held and many children were baptised. They opened the house, and called her Nga Tai E Rua—the joining of two people East and West coast.
Another house was built later. The big dining room ‘Reitu’ was named by Reverend Mutu Kapa of the Anglican Church.
Today the Pa is a busy gathering place and many people have been entertained, Maori and Pakeha alike. Many different functions are held—weddings, birthdays, tangis and an annual Poukai.
We value and are grateful to the many people old and young who made it possible, most of all the gentleman Poru Matete whose dream came true especially for the generations that followed.
The chairman for the later period of time has been Te Matete (Gummer Whiskey) Tupaea, Sue Ewe and currently Tamati (Thomas) Herangi.
It is a credit to the dedication of hard work and efforts of these people and the committees to deliver on time this fine building for the Marae on its one acre garden site in Carr Street, Tuakau.