Statement regarding Hinemihi at Clandon Park in Surrey

Press release
Hinemihi at Clandon Park
Published : 04 Dec 2019

The National Trust has agreed in principle with Heritage New Zealand for the historic carvings of Hinemihi, a traditional Maori meeting house in the grounds of Trust property Clandon Park in Surrey, to return to New Zealand in exchange for new carvings.

The new carvings would be created in collaboration with specialist Maori carvers, to continue the tradition of a Maori meeting house in the grounds of Clandon Park, for visitors and others who value this special cultural connection.  

We will now seek formal assistance from the Charity Commission and progress the legal consents we need from the UK authorities.

John Orna-Ornstein, Director of Culture and Engagement at the National Trust said: 

“We approached this decision with great care and have thoroughly researched the international significance of Hinemihi and have consulted the Maori community and others here in the UK and in New Zealand.  Hinemihi is unique and we recognise the deep spiritual relationship between our Maori partners and the historic carvings of their honoured ancestor.

“In principle we have decided to progress an exchange whereby the historic carvings would return to New Zealand, in return for special new carvings for a Maori meeting house presence at Clandon Park. However, this is a long process - Hinemihi has listed building status and the relevant UK authorities need to give consent. We are also seeking the formal assistance of the Charity Commission.

“We’re looking forward to continuing our longstanding relationship with the Maori community and working closely with Heritage New Zealand as we take the next steps.”