A Maori visit to Clandon Park

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In the summer of 1986 Hinemihi was visited by Emily Schuster (great-granddaughter of the carver Tene Waitere) and performance artists from the New Zealand Maori Arts & Crafts Institute, Rotorua.

Emily later recalled her experience of the visit:

'We could feel the presence of our ancestors, including those who sheltered inside Hinemihi during the eruption, as well as those who didn’t make it to safety. By touching the carvings we could hear their screams and feel their pain.'

By 1992, Hinemihi had stood in the grounds of Clandon Park for a century. The event was marked by a visit by John Marsh of Ngati Hinemihi and director of the New Zealand Maori Arts & Crafts Institute.

Restoration of the Maori meeting house
After returning to New Zealand, John Marsh consulted with Ngati Hinemihi about restoring his ancestral meeting house’s missing carvings and appointed two young carvers from the institute to create new pieces for Hinemihi's door and window area.

The two young carvers were Robert Rika (fourth generation grandson of carver Tene Waitere) and Colin Tihi (third generation grandson of Aporo Wharekaniwha, the Te Wairoa chief). They agreed to produce the work unpaid and in their own time. The original pieces were missing, but had been photographed in detail by Victorian photographer Alfred Burton on a visit to Te Wairoa in 1881.

In 1993, Jim Schuster (Tene Waitere’s great-great-grandson) and his wife Cathy measured Hinemihi for the new carvings and during their visit some of the original pieces from the door and window surround were located in the attic at Clandon Park.

They were officially handed over to us at dawn on Friday 9 June 1995 - almost 109 years since Tarawera’s violent eruption had cut Hinemihi's life short.