Te Hau ki Turanga is the name of the oldest ancestral meeting-house (whare tupuna) that is still in existence in New Zealand. It was built in the early 1840s on the East Coast of the North Island by Raharuhi Rukupo, a chief of the Rongowhakaata tribe. In 1867, it was removed under the instructions of government minister Richmond as part of the confiscation of Turanga lands following the so-called »Maori wars«. Token sums were paid to the locals, but essentially the building was considered as a war trophy. While Te Hau ki Turanga was turned into a museum object, members of Rongowhakaata unsuccessfully petitioned the government for its return over the following 135 years. In 2012, the Crown finally conceded that the forcible taking of the building constituted a breach of Maori rights and that it should be returned to Rongowhakaata.
commented by Toon van Meijl