Clandon Park and the British Maori community
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The arrival of new carvings and the ceremony to accept them created a new profile for Hinemihi both in the UK and New Zealand, particularly between ourselves and the British-based Maori community.
For the last 13 years, we have been in direct contact with three specific Maori groups: Ngati Hinemihi (Hinemihi’s living descendants), Ngati Ranana (a London-based Maori Group) and the Kohanga reo (a Maori Language ‘nest’).
For London’s Maori community, Hinemihi is more than just a reminder of home. She has become their adopted meeting house, a place to visit either as individuals, with families or in large groups to remember and celebrate ancestors, family and culture back home.
Hinemihi’s story continues
A restoration programme is planned, co-ordinated by a Hinemihi Project Group, as part of a formal consultation process. Delegates include representatives from the National Trust, the New Zealand Historic Places Trust, Maori groups in New Zealand and the UK and other individuals with something to contribute and help conserve Hinemihi’s prestige (mana) for today and future generations.
Planning permission for Hinemihi’s restoration from various UK authorities has yet to be granted and it is still to be decided exactly what work will be undertaken, and when. For example, should she have a new roof to replace Mr. Draper’s English thatch? Should a floor be laid down to replace the compacted earth she has always had? Other questions include commissioning new woven panels for her interior and extending Hinemihi to her original length (she is around one third shorter at Clandon Park than she was at Te Wairoa). Or should she be left as she is?
The Hinemihi project group hopes to address some of these questions in the next few years once funds (estimated to be over £200,000) have been raised.