Volume 108 1999 > Volume 108, No. 3 > The architecture of the school of Maori arts and crafts, by Deidre Brown, p 241-276
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If the difference between vernacular building and architecture is architecture's reliance on the deliberate development and redevelopment of design philosophies to achieve desired ends, then the buildings of Apirana Ngata and the School of Arts and Crafts are indeed examples of indigenous architecture. 1 The importance of reflecting on such semantic distinctions has already been demonstrated by the redefinition of taonga Māori (Māori treasures) from “artefacts” to “art” following the Te Māori Exhibition, which opened at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1984. The types of taonga Māori that can be displayed in a gallery have since been appreciated in new forums, discussed in new ways, and presented according to tikanga Māori (Māori customs) as a consequence of that exhibition. However, other taonga (treasures) that are site specific, such as buildings, or no longer exist, also need to be rediscovered and redefined, in terms more befitting their mana (prestige, status), by contemporary scholars.

The development of a scholarly discourse about Māori “architecture” has been somewhat hampered by a perception that Māori buildings are part of a vernacular tradition, in which building purpose, design and construction are unchanging and solely determined by custom. Up until the last two decades, architectural historians have largely accepted this vernacular view of Māori building, possibly because the discipline is still influenced by Banister Fletcher's “tree of architecture” (Fletcher 1945:iii). 2 In Fletcher's influential opinion, architecture could only be a Western philosophy. As a consequence, there have only been a few scholars who have attempted to attach the word “Māori” to the word “architecture”. 3If post-Te Māori it is acceptable to discuss taonga Māori as “art”, and to describe its development as an “art history”, a Māori architectural history must also exist.

Possibly the first description of Māori buildings as “architecture” was made in Michael Austin's Ph.D. (Architecture) thesis “Polynesian Architecture in New Zealand”, completed at the Auckland University in 1976. However, Austin's thesis proposition was not concerned with addressing the problem created by the “vernacular building” label. It was authors in other fields, such as Nigel Prickett (1974) and Roger Neich (1993), who showed that the designs of prehistoric and historic Māori buildings were not necessarily the outcome of custom, but were the result of deliberate - 242 and ever-changing philosophies which addressed the economic and social conditions of the time.

Māori architectural discourse is only emerging gradually, as there is a great amount of oral, written, drawn, photographic and physical source material to reinterpret. This article, which is an architectural analysis of the architecture of the School of Māori Arts and Crafts, deals with a brief but important period in Māori architectural development. The large volume of written material left by Apirana Ngata and the School's officials forms the basis for this discussion. It is not an account of particular buildings, but an examination of the School's historical development and approach to architecture. 4 The School, under the leadership of Sir Apirana Ngata, deliberately formulated new design philosophies and redeveloped old concepts to suit contemporary Māori needs, create a fresh pool of trained artists, and facilitate Ngata's particular social goals.


The New Zealand School of Māori Arts and Crafts was established in 1926 at the request of Sir Apirana Ngata, who was the then Minister of Parliament for Eastern Māori. 5 He stated that the School would produce “the carvings, reed panels, and painted rafters [that] may be used in halls and lounges or in drawing-rooms or in some of our public and municipal buildings”. From the outset, however, Ngata intended to perpetuate Māori architecture, and the School produced the buildings that he, in part, designed. He wanted the School's meeting houses, in particular, to be the assembly houses of a Māori rural proletariat, which he hoped to create through his land development schemes.

In 1929, a year after he became Native Minister, Ngata managed to pass legislation that became the basis for his land development schemes. This act allowed for the consolidation of individual Māori land titles. Once in blocks, Ngata reasoned, the land could be managed as a farm by a supervisor appointed by the collective tribal owners, and worked by unemployed Māori youth (Butterworth 1989:15, King 1991a:200). He encouraged hereditary tribal leaders to supervise the state-assisted farming schemes established under the legislation (King 1991 a:200). In order to ensure communal support for these schemes, Ngata also revived the construction of tribal meeting houses through the establishment of the School of Māori Arts and Crafts (Sorrenson 1996:362). These buildings directed Māori attention back to tribal areas, because they were able to accommodate popular modern social events, like dances, and large inter-tribal hui (gatherings) where political ideas could be discussed and exchanged (Butterworth 1989:15, King 1991a.: 165).

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Ngata became aware of the urgent need to perpetuate meeting house arts and architecture in 1916, when he commissioned whakairo (carving) for his Waiomatatini residence. To his surprise, he discovered that there was only one carver, Hone Ngatoto, who was still working on the East Coast (Ngata to Buck, 17 August 1935, in Sorrenson 1987, I:193). In the early 1920s, Ngata had difficulty finding carvers to decorate the Church of St Mary in Tikitiki, since there were only two experts outside of the Arawa tribe of the central North Island, working at that time. One was from the Urewera region and the other belonged to the Ngāti Porou tribe of the East Coast (Ngata to Buck, 17 August 1935, in Sorrenson 1987, I:193, Ngata 1940:321). Four years later, Ngata's close friend, Peter Buck (Te Rangi Hīroa), wrote an article about the near demise of tukutuku (decorated lattice wall panels), which claimed that the art was only being practised in the Whanganui, East Coast and Rotorua regions, and was no longer produced by the Waikato, Maniapoto, Taranaki and North Auckland tribes (Buck 1920:452,470). On the basis of his experience and Buck's evidence, which suggested that whakairo and tukutuku were about to become extinct practices, Ngata lobbied the Government for a state-funded school that would teach Māori arts to Māori students (Ngata 1940:321).

In 1926, Ngata succeeded in passing the Act of Parliament that created the School of Māori Arts and Crafts (Ngata 1940:322). The Act established a Māori Arts and Crafts Board, which was funded by the Arawa District Trust Board and the Māori Purposes Fund Control Board. Its founding members included Ngata and Buck. 6 One of the Board's roles was “to foster and encourage the study and practice of these arts and crafts” by establishing the School of Māori Arts and Crafts (Evening Post 30 November 1926:10).

Board members initially had mixed opinions about the School's function (Ngata 1940:321). Some thought that the School could certify the “authenticity” of Māori artwork on sale, and also produce small tourist curios (J.G. Coates in The Sun 5 July 1927:10, Ngata 16 August 1926). Other members believed that the School could develop a national decorative art form which could be used on public buildings (Ngata 1940:321). The adopted curriculum was based on suggestions from the Māori board members. They wanted the School to produce work for a tribal building programme, and to train instructors for the perpetuation of Māori architecture and arts (Dominion 7 April 1927:15, Ngata 1940:323). It was their belief that prospective students would find this type of work interesting, and that tribes could fund the students' wages and materials.

The School of Māori Arts and Crafts opened around May 1927 (Ngata 1940:321). At first, it was located in Te Ao Marama, an Anglican Church Hall in the Rotorua village of Ōhinemutu (Dominion 18 August 1927:8, - 244 Hamilton 20 May 1927). The Board had decided that Rotorua was the most advantageous site for the School, since it was the home of the few remaining Te Arawa carvers, a convenient central location for the assembly of materials, and a tourist centre (Ngata 1940:321-22, J.G. Coates in The Sun 5 July 1927:10). It soon became obvious that Te Ao Marama was too small, and that the tourist traffic was distracting the carvers (Buck to Ngata, 10 May 1932, in Sorrenson 1987, II:268; Evening Post 17 August 1927:11). A number of new Rotorua sites were investigated before the Board decided in 1933 to re-establish the School at Utuhuna, on Rotorua's outskirts, in the Government Sanatorium grounds (R.F. Bollard in Dominion 18 August 1927:8). A large workshop, office and marae (open-air forum, meeting area) were built on this site (Dominion 21 September 1928:3).

Harold Hamilton, son of Augustus Hamilton who was a former director of the Dominion Museum in Wellington, became the first director of the School (Neich 1977:64, Ngata 1940:322). According to Neich, Harold's conservative views on Māori art were heavily influenced by those of his father (Neich 1993:118). Augustus had been particularly concerned with the “grotesque” appearance of whakairo, and was probably influenced by some of the contemporary neo-Gothic aesthetic philosophies of the British Arts and Crafts movement (Hamilton 1905 in Neich 1977:62,64). The younger Hamilton believed that whakairo had no spiritual meanings, and merely depicted “persons and events”. As a consequence, Harold was concerned with the form, rather than the meaning, of the School's work (Harold Hamilton in Hawkes Bay Tribune 15 March 1928, Neich 1977:64). Shortly after his appointment, Ngata became concerned that Hamilton might not have inherited his father's intellectual ability. In a 1928 letter to Buck, he complained that Hamilton was “lazy” (Ngata to Buck, 27 March 1928 and 24 August 1928, in Sorrenson 1987, I:82,126). Ngata later described how Hamilton was unable to satisfactorily prepare a detailed illustrated report on Bay of Plenty whakairo and tukutuku. Despite these early problems, Hamilton's performance seemingly improved to Ngata's satisfaction, since he continued to work at the School until it closed in 1938, the year in which he died.

Although Ngata was not the director of the School, he was very much in control of its operation and goals. He decided which projects the School should work on, what styles of whakairo and tukutuku would be used, and the general plan of each new building (Balneavis 19 September 1935). In evaluating Ngata's involvement with the School, Neich suggests that Ngata had a more intellectual and insightful appreciation of Māori art than Harold Hamilton, and that the School could not have survived without Ngata's input (Neich 1993:118).

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The School initially concentrated on whakairo, since Ngata believed that this was the most important feature of Māori architecture (Ngata 1940:323). Local carvers, including Rotohiko Haupapa and Tama Te Kapua Te Raihi, were the School's first instructors (Neich 1977:124). In 1929, they were joined by two Tikitiki brothers, Pine and John Taiapa, whom Ngata had personally selected as trainees, and two Waikato students, Piri Poutapu and Waka Kereama, who had been sent to the School by Te Puea Herangi (Poutapu n.d., John Taiapa in Te Awekōtuku 1981:212-13). 7 The arrival of the four young men was not welcomed by Haupapa, who suggested that the newcomers had come “to pinch our bread and butter” (John Taiapa in Te Awekōtuku 1981:212). Pine responded, “when Ngata sends anyone to learn something, they go, and when Te Puea sends anyone to learn something, they go, and if you are going to be so possessive, then we will teach ourselves” (John Taiapa in Te Awekōtuku 1981:213). As John Taiapa later remarked: “From this moment on, it was like an imaginary line was cut across the floor of Te Ao Marama. It was very delicate, and we did not cross it” (John Taiapa in Te Awekōtuku 1981:213).

Haupapa did not want to teach the young interns (Neich 1977:124). Determined to learn whakairo without his help, the young men travelled to Auckland, where they photographed and studied Museum-held whakairo from their own districts in order to become familiar with the appearance, if not the production, of their artistic inheritances (Schwimmer 1959:34,50, John Taiapa in Te Awekōtuku 1981:213).

The School's first years were fraught with other difficulties. Pine Taiapa was frustrated by the School's early commissions, which were restricted to small tourist curios in the style of old whakairo (Shadbolt 1971:2434). Around 1930, the number of carving staff decreased when Haupapa and two other Arawa instructors left the School (Schwimmer 1959:34). There was also some concern among the students about the flatness of the chisel carvings that were produced for the School's first two meeting house projects (Taiapa 1960:43). Ngata was similarly critical of Haupapa's chisel method, which tended to obscure the shape of the figure by “over-elaborating” the surface (Ngata to Buck, 22 March 1933, in Sorrenson 1987, III:88, Ngata 1 November 1938). All this attention to detail reduced the School's output (Taiapa 1960:43). Ngata decided that these stylistic and efficiency problems could be solved if an adze instructor was appointed. Having agreed, Pine Taiapa travelled to the Ngāti Tarāwhai region in search of such a person. He eventually found a 55 year-old long-handled steel adze expert called Eramiha Kapua who was willing to teach at the School (Neich 1977:124, Taiapa 1960:44).

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With the appointment of Kapua, and the commencement of the St Faith's Anglican Church commission, the School's quality of work improved (Te Awekōtuku 1981:213). As the School's reputation grew, there were more requests for work than the carvers could fulfil. The success of the Poho-o-Rāwiri project, for example, led to a number of Gisborne commissions during the 1930s, including the Ikaroa-a-Māui and Whitireia meeting house projects (Ngata to Buck, 17 August 1935, in Sorrenson 1987, III:194).

Unlike Haupapa, Kapua freely imparted his knowledge of adzing to the Taiapas and the Waikato students (Taiapa 1960:44-45). He taught at the School for 10 years, in a number of tribal styles, during which time he instructed 20 Maori men from tribes around the country and two Rarotongans (Ruaihona 1993:51 and 52, Iotua Tuarau in Neich 1977:125). According to Neich, Kapua's greatest personal contribution was to teach his tribal whakairo style to his students, a practice which effectively made Ngāti Tarāwhai the dominant style of the School (Neich 1977:125, 1983:246, 1993:118). By 1934, Kapua's age and failing eyesight were affecting his ability to carve. Iotua Tuarau remembered assisting Kapua with the heavier Te Arawa-style work on the Waitangi meeting house panels (Iotua Tuarau in Neich 1977:125). Hamilton recorded that some of Kapua's whakairo had to be “altered”, perhaps recarved, for them to match the Taiapa brothers' high standard of work (Hamilton 19 September 1934). As Hamilton noted, “this is a delicate matter of whakairo etiquette and will have to be approached at the right angle” (Hamilton 19 September 1934). Kapua retired from the project in early 1935, yet continued to train men in the use of the long-handled adze for at least another year (Neich 1977:125, J.M. McEwen and Iotua Tuarau in Neich 1991:137).

The Taiapa brothers eventually became the School's head carvers. Although Pine joined the School as a student, John worked as a labourer until the early 1930s, when he was promoted to student carver on the Ruatepupuke project at Tokomaru Bay (Schwimmer 1959:34). This was also an important project for Pine, whose first individual piece of work was Ruatepupuke's doorway (Mepham 1969:8). Pine's role in the management of the School increased as Ngata's confidence in him grew. On completing the Waitangi meeting house, at the end of the 1930s, John considered himself to be a fully trained carver (Schwimmer 1959:34). Ngata recognised his talent and noted that, although John was disorganised, he was the better carver of the two brothers (Ngata in Ramsden 21 October 1946). Today, both of the Taiapas are regarded as accomplished versatile carvers, who could work in a number of different classical tribal styles. Each project was viewed as a unique opportunity for artistic expression. As James Ritchie has noted, there was “a world of difference between the bombast of the - 247 Waitangi House, the assertive gross energy of Te Aute College Assembly Hall and the quiet, encompassing domesticity of Raukawa at Otaki” (Ritchie 1979:25).

The School was staffed by a permanent core of trained experts and an ever-changing group of students. Tribes who had commissioned the School to undertake projects on their behalf paid the wages of the experts and could nominate two of their young men to be trained as carvers (Balneavis 13 October 1937, Ngata 1940:323). Although their tribes paid for their tuition, these students appear to have also received a nominal state-provided wage (Balneavis 26 July 1935). Private students could also be admitted to the School, but they were not paid, and were expected to fund their own training. It is not clear if any students took up the latter option to join the School. At any one time, there were about ten trainees working for the School (Ngata 1940:323). By 1940, 27 students had been accepted into the School and of this number approximately nine students had dropped out of the course (Ngata 1940:323, Schwimmer 1959:34).

The School took a practical approach to teaching. Students were encouraged to visualise the finished article when executing their work (Ngata 1940:323). They were directed to adze the main form of the carving first, before adding the “decorative” chiselled features (Ngata 1940:323). The students always began working on full scale whakairo for real commissions, rather than practising with small technical pieces, since Ngata reasoned that by following this approach the carvers would undertake their work more seriously, and more funds would be forthcoming (Ngata 1940:323).

Two Rarotongan students, Iotua (Charles) Tuarau and Wili (Willie) Marama, joined the School in 1934 (Schwimmer 1959:34). They were admitted after Makea Tinirau, a Cook Islands representative at the opening of the School's Ruatepupuke meeting house project, asked Ngata if a carved house could be built in his country. At Ngata's request, the two young men joined the School to obtain the skills necessary for completing this project (Schwimmer 1959:34). The Rarotongans were attached to the Waitangi meeting house commission, since Ngata believed that the men would find Pine Taiapa's instruction helpful and the Northland weather agreeable (Ngata 23 February 1934). Ngata asked Buck for his photographs on Rarotongan art, so that the two Cook Islanders could practise carving local motifs on wood (Ngata 23 February 1934). When they had been training for less than 12 months, Hamilton was able to comment on Tuarau's attention to detail and Marama's bold adzing technique (Hamilton 19 September 1934). Tuarau's work was unusually naturalistic, and on one occasion a Te Arawa tutor had to slim-down the large muscles that he had carved on an ancestor figure (Tuarau in Neich 1993:99). The Rarotongan students' rapid - 248 accomplishments were recognised with a wage increase from 15/- a week to 25/- after only one year at the School (Hamilton 19 September 1934). Despite the abandonment of the Rarotongan house project following Tinirau's death, the Rarotongan students were retained by the School (Schwimmer 1959:34).

Tukutuku and Kākaho Lining

The School of Māori Arts and Crafts began holding tukutuku classes in 1933 (Ngata to Buck, 22 March 1933, in Sorrenson 1987,III:88). Four to five hundred women and schoolgirls passed through the School's tukutuku programme under the instruction of a few paid experts (Ngata 1940:325). Like the School's whakairo work, all the tukutuku panels were made for actual commissions, with benefitting communities supplying the tukutuku parties with food and accommodation (Ngata 1940:324-25).

Ngata became a self-taught tukutuku expert in order to pass on the art to students. He streamlined the tukutuku process by inventing a “frame”, which was fixed with evenly spaced laths, that fitted into precisely built, modern structures (Pine Taiapa in Te Aute College 1993:29). Using this new system, a panel could be completed in two or three days (Dominion 13 February 1936:8). Ngata tried to eliminate some of the Pākehā (European-derived, European descendant) influences on tukutuku by forbidding the use of embroidery patterns, stitching coloured with Judson dyes and milled laths in the School's tukutuku work. Instead, he generally employed older patterns, naturally dyed stitching and kākaho (stalk of the toetoe, Arundo conspicua or reed grass) laths.

Ngata selected a number of old patterns, which he sometimes enhanced, and created a few new styles for the School's tukutuku work. For example, he heightened the drama of the purapura-whetū pattern applied to the panels for the Raukawa meeting house by using contrasting coloured stitching (Taiapa n.d.:99). Although purapura-whetū had been the principal tukutuku design of the Rangiātea Church, Ngata found the old form of this pattern “monotonous”, and sought to make it more interesting (Ngata c. 1931). Ngata also incorporated designs from other sources into the School's tukutuku work. He used a tāniko (ornamental border) weaving pattern, known as “mango”, on the tukutuku panels of St Paul's Memorial Church and Te Ikaroa-a-Māaui, Raukawa, and a few other East Coast meeting houses. This design was purposefully included in these houses to stimulate interest in tāniko weaving (Smart n.d.). Another pattern, called “papakirango”, was derived from the plaited handles of Māori fly-swatters (Smart n.d.). Ngata had earlier used this motif, which was believed to express grief and sympathy, in the tukutuku of the St Paul's Memorial Church and the Church of St - 249 Mary (Smart n.d.). In addition to new designs, he encouraged the School to produce figurative tukutuku panels that resembled surrounding ancestral whakairo. Ngata had helped to make the Porourangi meeting house's original figurative tukutuku in 1888, and the experience had obviously influenced his view of this technique (Neich 1993:102). When the School renovated Porourangi in 1938, he had the Judson dyed figurative panels restitched in naturally dyed threads, following the old design (Neich 1993:102). Figurative tukutuku were also included in his Whitireia and Tukaki meeting house projects (Alexander Turnbull Library neg. no.51426, Evans 1983:69, Museum of New Zealand-Te Papa Tongarewa neg. no. B16084). It would seem that, depending on the project, Ngata either selected tukutuku patterns that had meanings that related to adjacent whakairo, or used ones which had a particular “beauty, colour scheme and history” (Pine Taiapa in Te Aute College 1993:29).

The technique of kākaho reed lining, which is closely aligned to that of tukutuku, was also revived by the School at this time (Ngata 1940:324). Tukutuku laths were made of kākaho and were prepared in the same manner as kākaho lining. This lining was used to cover the ceilings and, in some cases, the walls of the Te Hau-ki-Tūranga, Kahungunu, Kapohanga, Te Poho-o-Pikihoro, Te Poho-o-Rāwiri, Tākitimu and Waitangi meeting houses, the Hinematikotai and Tawhiorangi dining halls, and St Paul's Memorial Church. Ngata believed that kākaho lining, like tukutuku, was “women's work” and should only be produced by female experts (Ngata 1940:324).


Ringatū Poi became the School's kōwhaiwhai (decorative scroll) painting expert. Before Poi was trained, Ngata commissioned Pākehā signwriters, like John Wright, to paint kōwhaiwhai patterned rafters for the School (Ngata 23 February 1934). This was expensive and Ngata disliked the regularity of their work. He did not believe that the signwriters fully understood the theory of kōwhaiwhai (Ngata 23 February 1934). For these reasons, sometime in the early to mid-1930s he asked Ringatū Poi to teach himself kōwhaiwhai painting. Poi appears to have learned this art by practising patterns from Augustus Hamilton's Maori Art on cheap timber at Mōtatau (Ngata 16 August 1926 and 23 February 1934). His first project was probably the Waitangi meeting house rafters, and he later went on to make new kōwhaiwhai patterned paintings for the Whare Rūnanga at the New Zealand Centennial Exhibition, the Ruakapanga, Tākitimu and Whitireia meeting houses, and the Rongomaitapui, Taihoa and Tawhiorangi dining halls (Ngata 23 February 1934 and 31 October 1942). In addition, Poi repainted the old kōwhaiwhai work of the Porourangi and Hinerupe meeting houses.

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From an organisational perspective, the School was more reminiscent of the Public Works Department than a whare wānanga (Māori school of learning and expert practice) in terms of the way that mahi (labour), whakairo (design) and utu (wages and funding) were handled. This association with Pākehā structures of administration and work was symptomatic of the School's status as a state-established body.

The School's experts worked from their base at Rotorua and on-site. By the 1930s the School's workers were divided into two parties of carvers, tukutuku, kōwhaiwhai painting and kākaho experts to cope with simultaneous commissions (Ngata 1940:324, Schwimmer 1959:48). In 1934, for instance, one group worked in Northland on the Waitangi meeting house and the other was beginning the Tākitimu meeting house whakairo at their Rotorua headquarters (Ngata to Buck, 17 March 1934, in Sorrenson 1987, III:138). The experts' families would accompany them to their on-site projects, and they were all accommodated on local marae (Hamilton 2 May 1934, Schwimmer 1959:58). Sometimes the on-site experts could be away from their Rotorua homes for more than a year (Balneavis 14 October 1937). John Taiapa admitted that the strain of constant travelling and loss of privacy was highly stressful, and tested their commitment to the School (John Taiapa in Schwimmer 1959:58).

Although Ngata conceived the layout of each building, and described himself as the “part-architect” of these commissions, he relied on School's builder, Richard Wills, to produce the plans and specifications for each project (Ngata 16 April 1947). Ngata was wary of using professional architects, following a disagreement with Cecil Wood over the Wellington Cathedral project (Ngata 16 April 1947). 8 Instead, he preferred to rely on the more pragmatic advice of Wills the builder. 9 Wills often adapted one plan to suit several projects. Māhinaarangi's plan was adapted for the Te Poho-o-Rāwiri and, probably, the Ruatepupuke meeting house projects, and the drawings for the Tūhoe-Potiki meeting house were used again for the Tākitimu project (Historic Places Trust n.d.[b], Phillipps n.d.[a], Wills 31 March 1934). The Arihia memorial dining hall was the general prototype for all of Ngata's dining halls (Ngata to Buck 17 August 1935 in Sorrenson 1987, III:194). In particular, the Tawhiwhirangi dining hall's dimensions were copied for the Tawhiorangi and Hinematikotai projects (Ngata 31 October 1942). By 1938, Wills had planned and built, or reconstructed, ten meeting houses, five dining halls, and one church for the School (Balneavis 9 December 1938). 10 Following Ngata's last instructions, Wills completed a number of Ngata's projects after Ngata's death in 1950, including the Te Poho-o-Rukupō meeting house at Takipu, the installation of the Te Aute - 251 College whakairo, and the work for the Tamatea hall in Otago (Gisborne Herald 18 July 1951).

Unlike 19th century tohunga whakairo (carving experts), who were repaid with gifts and hospitality, the School's experts and students were additionally reimbursed with wages. During the 1930s, the School's expert carvers were paid two shillings an hour and the head carver received 2/6 an hour (Schwimmer 1959:48). The experts' wages were commensurate to those paid to other skilled workers. Ngata reasoned that male expert carvers should be paid more than tradesmen, since whakairo was more difficult to master than a trade (Ngata in Ramsden 8 August 1946). However, the rate of pay for female experts was half of that of the men's (see Board of Arts 10 May-27 June 1936). Depending on their ability and training, male students were given 25 to 35 shillings each week (Schwimmer 1959:48). Ngata did not believe in voluntary labour, and claimed that payment helped students and experts to concentrate on their work (Evening Post 10 May 1948).

The School was funded by a variety of Government grants and tribal contributions. By 1935, the Government had given about £6000 to the School in the form of direct grants, unemployment subsidies and Native Trust money (Campbell 30 June 1943, Ngata 1940:330). This government money was largely spent on buildings, equipment and administration costs. Additional state grants were also made from the Māori Purposes Fund Board, which consisted of unexpended profits, undistributed land interest and accumulated funds administered by the Māori Land Boards (Ngata 1940:330). These funds were earmarked for the perpetuation of Māori arts, and were used to pay for plans, transport, accommodation and whakairo and tukutuku materials (Balneavis 16 November 1936, Maori Purposes Fund Board 7 May 1932). But Ngata credited Māori fundraisers with the School's financial survival. By 1935 benefitting tribes had contributed about £30,000 for materials and wages (Balneavis 16 November 1936, Ngata 1940:323-24, Ngata to Buck, 17 August 1935, in Sorrenson 1987, III:196). These Māori communities endured tremendous financial strain to pay for their projects, since their income often solely relied on dairying, wool and stock prices. The abandonment of the School's projects at Waima and Ruatoki was partly the result of poor farming returns (Ngata to Buck, 17 March 1934, in Sorrenson 1987, III:156). Ngata hoped that the School would eventually create a pool of trained experts who would be paid by Māori tribes from land development profits (Ngata to Buck, 17 March 1934, in Sorrenson 1987, III:138-39, Ngata 1940:328). Government and Māori funding helped to support the School through the Depression and until the Second World War, after which time the experts were forced to find privately-funded commissions. 11

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Despite an increase in demand for Ngata's services, owing to government funding for Treaty Centennial building projects, the School closed just before 1938 (Ngata 31 July 1939). Harold Hamilton died shortly afterwards, and his illness may have led to the School's demise (Native Department 26 July 1939, Tourist and Publicity Board 12 May 1938). The Second World War prevented it from reopening, since some of the carvers, like Pine Taiapa, joined the Maori Battalion (Ngata 13 December 1944, Te Aute College 1993:i). After the War, Ngata tried to re-establish the School near his Ruatōria home, in a district which he claimed, “had done more than any other for the renaissance of the culture” (Ngata 13 December 1944). The Government did not support Ngata's idea and the School remained closed (Schwimmer 1959:51, Taiapa 27 June 1947).

Frank Langstone, who was the Minister of Native Affairs, did not share Ngata's long-term views on Māori development, and would not fund the reopening of the School. Langstone believed that carved meeting houses, such as the School's Tukaki meeting house project, were “ostentatious” (Langstone c. February 1944). He thought that government money would be better spent on Māori housing, health and education (Langstone c. February 1944). With regard to land development, Langstone was unable, or unwilling, to recognise that a solution could be reliant on the construction of marae buildings (Langstone in Daily Telegraph 14 March 1939, Langford c.February 1944). In 1943, the Native Department affirmed their position by stating that Māori working on tribal building projects could no longer receive unemployment subsidies since “there is an acute shortage of labour everywhere” (Native Affairs 12 May 1943). The Department added that Māori subsidy applications were merely an attempt “to obtain free money for the purpose of assisting the hall projects” (Native Affairs 12 May 1943). These views led to the refusal of subsidy applications for the Waima meeting house project and many other Māori building commissions (Campbell 30 June 1943).

Langstone was also reluctant to subsidise the construction of temporary buildings used during the opening ceremonies of the School's projects, such as those built for the opening of the Tākitimu meeting house (Langstone 19 April 1938). With respect to this particular project, Ngata eventually managed to convince Langstone to pay for the work, since the house was a memorial to a former Minister of Parliament, Sir James Carroll (Ngata 30 April 1938). Ngata suggested to Langstone that the Government needed to fund house openings because they were an opportunity to promote Māori policies to representative tribal gatherings (Ngata 30 April 1938). It seems likely that Langstone was not in favour of financially supporting large Māori gatherings - 253 and assembly places which accommodated discussion about national political issues that were not always in the Government's favour.

Despite the closure of the School, Ngata continued to act as a marae building consultant, and the Taiapas still accepted privately-funded commissions and trained new carvers (Native Department 8 May 1947). 12 They took advantage of an increased demand for marae buildings after the War. Many of the new projects were Second World War memorials that qualified for state-assistance (Mead 1995:59). Ngata was “opposed to memorials in stone” and, therefore, encouraged tribes to apply for funds to construct marae buildings as tributes to Maori Battalion casualties (Ramsden 7 October 1946). By the late 1940s, Pine Taiapa estimated that he had taught 34 whakairo students, two kōwhaiwhai students, two kākaho students and over 100 tukutuku students (Taiapa 27 June 1947). He also noted that he had worked on 17 meeting houses, ten dining halls and three churches. In 1947, Pine produced a draft curriculum for whakairo education (Taiapa 27 June 1947). However, it was John, and not Pine, who continued to formally teach whakairo after Ngata's death (Schwimmer 1959:32, Shadbolt 1971:2436).

Apirana Ngata and the School of Māori Arts and Crafts assisted in the construction and renovation of approximately 21 marae meeting houses, two exhibition meeting houses, ten dining halls, two assembly halls and six chapels or churches. At least 34 of these projects included new whakairo panels, 28 featured new tukutuku work, and 22 projects benefited from new kōwhaiwhai paintings. Twenty projects were new constructions. An important aspect of the projects was that many men and women learned about Māori architecture within their own communities (Te Awekōtuku 1981:213). As Ngata had wished, a pool of trained experts was created. They were able to find their own private commissions and perpetuate Māori architectural arts.


An architectural analysis of the projects undertaken by Apirana Ngata and the School of Māori Arts and Crafts reveals a number of sources of inspiration and areas of innovation. Like other contemporary Māori building projects, the School's commissions developed appropriated design elements from Pākehā, Christian and Māori precedents. They also redeveloped “traditional”, structural, functional, philosophical and multi-tribal architectural concepts in order to address what Ngata believed to be contemporary Māori needs.

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Ngata emphasised the School's adherence to “traditional” Māori architectural models, especially the carved meeting house, in order to obtain government financial support. As a classical scholar, Ngata knew that Western thought equated traditionalism with static, ordered and loyal societies (Neich 1993:241). In particular, he realised that Pākehā had looked favourably on “traditional”, or pre-colonial, Māori culture, as opposed to the innovative religio-political movements which emerged during the New Zealand Wars (Ngata 1931:xi). By promoting his architectural and land development schemes in terms of “traditionalism”, Ngata was able to obtain government funds.

Ngata had recognised that he was in a prime position to facilitate a state-assisted Māori architectural “renaissance” which could undermine the Government's assimilationist policies. Through his reading, personal observations, relationship with the anthropologist Peter Buck and tribal dealings, Ngata had developed his own, uniquely Māori, view of independent cultural development (Ngata 31 October 1933, Buck 3 December 1933, Sorrenson 1977:7,14 and 1993:31). His “home-grown anthropology” was anti-assimilationist, and he argued that social inequalities would disappear if Māori retained a distinct identity (Ngata to Buck, 1 August 1928, in Sorrenson 1982:15-16). As early as 1909, he stated that Māori architecture was part of this identity, and began calling for its preservation (Ngata 1909, Sorrenson 1977:9). It was not until the establishment of the School of Māori Arts and Crafts that Ngata had a organisational framework through which to achieve this aim. He was particularly interested in developing the carved tribal meeting house, because of its unique “traditionalism” that Pākehā found appealing, and its Māori communal functions that were necessary for the implementation of his land programmes.

The School's architectural projects were supported by Ngata because they accommodated the communal life of rural Māori tribes, and tribalism was central to his land development schemes (Ngata to Buck, 20 September 1930, in Sorrenson 1987, I:56, Ngata 1931:xi). He feared that farming might lead Māori toward individualisation, and believed that tribal assembly places were important to the preservation of a collective Māori identity (Ngata 1940:330). As he saw it, “the house of assembly was the centre of the communal life of the village and there was concentrated in it and its various features much of the tribal tradition so that more than any other object it symbolised the tribal life and sentiment” (Ngata 1940:311). Hence, working in the local tribal whakairo, tukutuku and kōwhaiwhai painting styles was especially important.

Ngata promoted the School's architectural work in the most favourable - 255 terms when he showed his land development schemes to political and Māori tribal leaders. During his 1932 Rotorua land development conference, he took visiting tribal and political delegates to the School's recently constructed meeting houses in the surrounding regions (King 1991b:112). The purpose of this tour was to interest Māori leaders like Whina Gilbert (later known as Cooper) in developing their own marae and farming schemes, and to secure the backing of his political colleagues (King 1991 b: 125). Ngata argued that once rival tribal leaders saw the beauty of the meeting houses, and the benefits of land reforms, they would be inclined to establish competing schemes in their own areas (Sorrenson 1996:362). The meeting house revival programme and land development schemes were developed to take advantage of these peaceful inter-tribal rivalries.

In terms of addressing past inter-cultural rivalries, the Te Ikaroa-a-Māui and Waitangi meeting house projects attempted to demonstrate Ngata's theory that Māori and Pākehā co-exist as distinct, rather than integrated, cultural identities. Te Ikaroa-a-Māui was a state-funded project, built by Te Āti Awa locals under the School's supervision (Phillipps 1955:129). Since the Government wanted to be seen to be compensating the Taranaki tribes, in accordance with the findings of a 1926-27 Royal Commission into 1860s land confiscations, Ngata saw a funding advantage in promoting the commission as a “goodwill” partnership gesture from Pākehā to Māori (Wilson 1990:51). The Waitangi meeting house project was another such “partnership” project (Wilson 1990:51). Together with the nearby Treaty House, which “represented” Pākehā culture, the Waitangi meeting house was meant to symbolise the distinct identity of Māori (Shaw 1992:75).

Ngata believed that the revival and redevelopment of a distinctive traditional architectural form, namely the carved meeting house, was an integral part of maintaining Māori identity. He was, therefore, critical of what he perceived to be “untraditional” large-scale architectural projects carried out by other Māori leaders, such as Te Puea Herangi, Tahu Pōtiki, Wiremu Rātana, Te Whiti-o-Rongomai and Tohu Kākahi. In 1948 he wrote, “Te Puea and her extravagant building scheme follows Te Whiti and Ratana.… I thought that her good sense would save her and Ngaruawahia [Te Puea's marae] from the fate of Parihaka and Ratana Pa” (Ngata 14 June 1948). Parihaka was a well-planned community, established by Te Whiti and Tohu, which had received much praise for its design from Māori and Pākehā commentators. Rātana Pā displayed similar promise. Ngata was perhaps critical of the Pākehā-style appearance of both of these settlements, which contrasted with the “traditional”, marae-based designs that he was trying to popularise.

While idealising the past in a way that was acceptable to Pākehā, Ngata's - 256 architectural “renaissance” established a 20th century role for an early 19th century building type. He obtained Pākehā political support and funding for his commissions by emphasising the meeting house's adherence to “traditional” methods of building decoration, as opposed to the “untraditional” qualities of other contemporary Māori architectural projects. The work of the School of Māori Arts and Crafts suggested the existence of a static, non-threatening and united Māori society. However, Ngata knew that tribalism, a important part of his land policy, could be strengthened by an architectural revival, so he promoted “traditional” Māori architecture to help to achieve the tribal economic independence he dearly desired, but only partly achieved.


Apart from having to address the political and philosophical issues raised by promoting traditional architecture, Ngata and the School had to reconcile traditionalism with the structural requirements of 20th century Western building practice. Multiple egress routes, electric lighting and opening windows had to be included in meeting houses and dining halls to comply with the State's health and building regulations. Side porches provided the alternative egress routes demanded by the fire regulations for the Te Poho-o-Rāwiri, Ruatepupuke, Tākitimu and Kahungunu meeting houses, amongst others. Ngata found that Ruatepupuke's side porch created a useful “supplementary marae”, where people engaged in informal debate, between the meeting house and the dining hall (see Fig. 1). He similarly positioned Tākitimu's side porch to face its dining hall, so that the same result would be achieved (Ngata 26 February and 19 March 1934). While Ngata believed that improved ventilation was a necessity, he had reservations about the inclusion of windows. He thought that they betrayed the sublime quality of Māori architecture, and in 1929 he wrote how the regulations “have done enough mischief by compelling rows of windows where there were none and letting light into places it had no business to pry into: behind the romantic grotesqueness of the carved pare [lintel] and whakawai (jamb) and the mysterious Buddhistic manaia [carved beaked figure] over the sliding mataho [window]” (Ngata to Buck, 5 January 1929, in Sorrenson 1987,1:172).

Despite these personal opinions, Ngata did concede that the regulations had to be observed, and even contemplated introducing building law to the School's curriculum (Ngata 1958b:34).

Ngata also continued the post-contact practice of incorporating Pākehā-derived building materials and forms into his buildings. Many 19th century Māori materials were no longer available, and those that were infringed

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Figure 1: Exterior of Tākitimu meeting house, Tākitimu marae, Wairoa, c. 1948. The whakairo, tukutuku and kōwhaiwhai in Tākitimu's side porch drew attention away from the use of Pākehā-derived materials, such as weatherboards and roofing iron. The side porch not only provided another path of egress, but encouraged people to use the area on this side of the house as an informal marae (Museum of New Zealand—Te Papa Tongarewa neg. no. C001975).

building regulations. Fire and building laws demanded the use of nonflammable cladding materials, concrete lower-structures and steel-framework, so thatch was accordingly replaced by weatherboard, iron and tiles (Ngata 1940:326). The Te Ikaroa-a-Māui, Te Poho-o-Rāwiri (Fig. 2), Raukawa, Tākitimu, Whitireia and Kapohanga meeting houses also featured combinations of concrete foundations, floors and lower walls (Evans 1983:75, MacKay 1966:375, Mitchell 1972:202, Phillipps n.d.[b] and 1944:103, Wilson 1990:51-52). In 1940, Ngata wrote that it was no longer possible to secure a totara pole large enough to act as a ridgepole (Ngata 1940:326). In compliance with earthquake regulations, a steel framework was used to carry the roof load to the ground for the Poho-o-Rāwiri, Te Ikaroa-a-Māui and Tākitimu meeting house projects (Mitchell 1972:202, Ngata 23 October 1949, Phillipps 1944:102, Wilson 1990:51-52). To preserve the unique appearance of Māori architecture, the internal and external introduced materials were hidden wherever possible beneath whakairo, kākaho lining and kōwhaiwhai paintings. The focus on the carved front of the meeting or dining house largely diverted attention away from the - 258 introduced materials along the side and back walls and roof (see Fig. 1). Despite these state-imposed design innovations, Ngata believed that “the individuality of the Maori type of meeting house has persisted strongly and it would be merely sentimental to regret the adaptations that have taken place” (Ngata 1940:325).

Figure 2: Interior of Te Poho-o-Rāwiri meeting house, Kaiti, Gisborne, c. 1930. Te Poho-o-Rāwiri featured a number of design innovations for a meeting house, including a stage (based on the design of a meeting house porch), concrete subfloor construction and a steel roof framework (Museum of New Zealand—Te Papa Tongarewa neg. no. BO13096).

With the advent of seating, it became necessary for Māori speakers and performers to use a raised stage so that they could be in full view of the audience (Ngata 1940:326,327). 13 Stages were incorporated into the School's Te Poho-o-Rāwiri (Fig. 2), Ruatepupuke, Tākitimu and Kahungunu meeting house projects, and Rongomaitapui, Taihoa and Tawhiorangi dining hall commissions (Alexander Turnbull Library neg. no. F101037 1/2, Mitchell 1972:202; Museum of New Zealand-Te Papa Tongarewa neg. no. B13064, Phillipps n.d.[a], Poverty Bay Herald 11 June 1938:4). Like the Pākehā theatre or community hall, the meeting house and dining hall stage may - 259 have helped to focus the modern audience's attention on the speaker or performer. Ngata modelled these stages and proscenia on the form of the meeting house porch, describing the resultant design as a “house within a house—as the front of a Maori house with the audience seated on the marae or plaza before it” (Ngata 1940:327). It would seem, from his own statements, that Ngata purposefully disguised the Pākehā source of this innovation with a Māori design solution that suited the new function.

To increase adolescent participation at marae functions, Ngata adapted the meeting house to accommodate modern social events, and he invented the permanent marae dining hall. He cleared the meeting house's main body of internal columns, fixed seating to the walls and laid wooden floors, so that modern dances could be held inside (Ngata in Ramsden n.d., Ngata 1940:326, Phillipps n.d. [c]. He also introduced Pākehā-style commercial kitchens and dining halls next to meeting houses to encourage communal feasting and tapu-free marae occasions (King 1991a:126). 14 Previously, temporary buildings had usually been erected to house the cooking and dining functions of large meetings (King 1991a.: 123). There was some initial resistance to having cooking amenities in close proximity to a tapu meeting house. Ngata advised Waipatu elders, who were concerned that this innovation would violate tapu: “A meeting house today must serve all community requirements … it is no longer a place wherein only the elders of a tribe assemble in solemn conclave. You must attract into it your youth as well!” (Ngata in Ramsden 1948:47).

He said that young people were too afraid to enter a meeting house because of the tapu, and that they were unwilling to take off their shoes (Ngata in Ramsden 7 October 1946). 15 “We are building him dining halls”, Ngata added, “where he can enjoy himself” (Ngata in Ramsden 7 October 1946). As a result of Ngata's philosophy, the School was involved in the construction of the Arihia, Tawhiwhirangi, Rongomaitapui, Taihoa, Tawhiorangi, Hinematikotai, Hinepare, Ngā Tamatoa and Maungarongo dining halls projects. Some of these dining halls featured “light”, or low, relief whakairo (Ngata 31 October 1942). Ngata may have believed that the dining halls did not need deeper, more intensive work, since they were not tapu buildings. Yet, he still wanted the dining halls to include whakairo and tukutuku, so that the young people would be reminded of their cultural heritage, and the School's students could practise their skills before working on meeting houses (Ngata in Ramsden 7 October 1946, Salmond 1990:53).

In order to maintain Māori architecture as a symbol of Māori identity and forum for counter-colonial debate, Ngata had found it necessary to appropriate functional concepts from Pākehā community halls. These innovations largely saved the meeting house in Māori communities from - 260 being replaced with the Pākehā-style assembly hall (Ngata 1940:320). Ngata viewed the contemporary Māori meeting house as a blend of the “ancient prototype” with the Pākehā assembly hall (Ngata 1940:325). Like Buck, he also believed that appropriation was not a measure of assimilation, but a method of adopting useful elements of Pākehā culture to assist in the development of Māori culture (Sorrenson 1977:17). By combining Māori and Pākehā architecture, Ngata was exploring how the appropriation processs could lift Māori into “full equality in politics, social and moral communion” with Pākehā (Ngata 1928).


By 1936, Ngata had formed his own theory on the origins and spread of whakairo, which was taught to the students of the School. Like Gilbert Archey, he believed that whakairo developed within New Zealand, and that there were two general styles of whakairo associated with the northwestern and eastern areas of the North Island (Archey 1933:171-75, Ngata 1958b:31). Furthermore, Ngata thought that the eastern, or “square”, style had developed from the northwestern or “serpentine” style. This was possibly a consequence, he argued, of prehistoric internal migrations from the north to the Bay of Plenty and Taranaki (Ngata 1958a:31). Another, and in his opinion more likely, scenario was that a common Ngāti Awa stylistic centre had existed between Whakatāne and East Coast in the 14th and 15th centuries (Ngata 1958b:30,32). Diffusion from this centre had led to the later northern and southern developments (Ngata 1958a:31). Ngata suggested that the northern-style had become extinct following Pākehā contact, while the advent of steel tools influenced the development of the eastern-style (Ngata 1958b:31). Although steel tools had helped to maintain the popularity of eastern area whakairo, Ngata believed that they had only influenced surface decoration (Ngata to Buck, 20 September 1935, in Sorrenson 1987, III:201). Simmons agrees with Ngata's theory, and suggests that minor dialectical differences may support his northwestern and eastern cultural division; and that almost all “serpentine”, or northwestern, whakairo were made with stone tools, also indicates that this style did not develop beyond the early-contact phase (Simmons 1994:55).

Ngata identified and grouped existing tribal work into “schools”, based around the northwestern and eastern divisions, that the School of Māori Arts and Crafts students “learned” by meticulous reproduction. By this method, the School was able to recover the northern “style” of whakairo that had not been produced for nearly a century (Ngata 1958b:31). 16 Ngata feared that if pre-Pākehā models were not slavishly copied, then the School's work would be dismissed by scholars as being “debased imitation” (Ngata - 261 to Buck, 17 August 1935, in Sorrenson 1987, I:192). He thought that only when the tribal styles had been mastered could the carver then be allowed the freedom to create new designs (Ngata to Buck, 5 January 1929, in Sorrenson 1987, I:171, Ngata 1940:324). Ngata justified this belief by arguing that pre-Pākehā whakairo must have relied on copying as a form of learning, since there had always been “a strong tendency to stick to certain features and conventions” (Ngata 1958b:34). Not until 1934, after six years of instruction, did he finally feel that the initial group of students had grasped the old techniques (Ngata to Buck, 17 March 1934, in Sorrenson 1987, III:138). Although Ngata acknowledged that his almost “scientific” revival of Māori architecture was academic, sentimental and, perhaps, “untraditional”, he claimed that its “adapted” recovery was a social and cultural necessity (Ngata 1940:329).

The School's restoration of Te Hau-ki-Tūranga, a meeting house built by Raharuhi Rukupō in the early 1840s, demonstrated Ngata's considered use of Western scientific knowledge. This building had been confiscated during the New Zealand Wars and sent to Wellington's Colonial Museum, which, by the 1930s, was known as the Dominion Museum. Between 1935 and 1936, the School's carvers studied and copied Te Hau-ki-Tūranga's whakairo in order to master the Tūranga “style” (Ngata 10 October 1935). The house became the stylistic prototype of many of the School's later projects because Ngata believed that woodcarving was at its stylistic peak in 1840s Tūranga (Ngata to Buck, 20 September 1935, in Sorrenson 1987, III:201; Ngata 1958a:37). A workshop was built for the students in 1935, next to the warehouse where the whakairo was temporarily stored (Maori Purposes Fund Board 17 October 1935, Ngata 10 October 1935). The new whakairo panels, based on the Museum-held examples, were made for Te Hau-ki-Tūranga's renovation, the Te Ikaroa-a-Māui and Whitireia meeting house projects, and three Gisborne and East Coast dining hall commissions (Ngata 10 October 1935). New tukutuku panels for the Te Hau-ki-Tūranga, Te Ikaroa-a-Māui and Tākitimu meeting houses, and kōwhaiwhai painted rafters for the Te Ikaroa-a-Māui and Whitireia meeting houses, were also produced in the Wellington workshop (Balneavis 3 October 1936 and 13 October 1936, Barrow 1976:24, Board of Māori Arts and Crafts 22 August 1936, Ngata 10 October 1935). Apart from being near the Tūranga carvings, the workshop was also close to Parliament, from where Ngata was able to supervise the work (Ngata to Buck, 28 March 1936, in Sorrenson 1987, III:216). By classifying Rukupō's work as a “style”, rather than the spoils of confiscation or the product of a whare wānanga, Ngata was able to reconcile Māori culture with Pākehā colonisation. This was part of Ngata's greater aim of using Māori “material culture” as a means to unite the tribes - 262 and hold onto the land without conflict with the Government.

Within Ngata's academic framework of learning, Eramiha Kapua managed to retain some whare wānanga protocols, while adapting old methods of teaching to suit the needs of the young students. He retained practices such as committing newly acquired knowledge to memory rather than paper, the careful disposal of wood chips, the spatial division of gender-related building tasks, and the recitation of karakia (prayers, incantations) (Neich 1977:124, Ruaihona 1993:51, Iotua Tuarau in Neich 1977:126). 17 Apart from separating male and female workers, Kapua divided the whakairo workshop into two areas. One side was reserved for experienced tohunga whakairo (expert carvers), who obeyed the rules of tapu, and the other was used by students who did not practise these observances (Simmons 1994:24). Kapua told the students to disregard some of carving's more tapu aspects, since he believed these protocols could not be fully appreciated in a Western-style learning institution like the School (Schwimmer 1959:34, Neich Summer 1990-91:74-75). He felt that it was more dangerous to transgress poorly appreciated customs than it was to ignore them completely (Neich 1977:124). By deciding not to teach these customs, Kapua was perpetuating what Neich has called the “secularization” of whakairo (Neich 1977:126).

In addition to the generational division of labour, there also existed a sexual division of labour within the School. Ngata taught women to produce tukutuku, despite Buck's belief that it had been produced by male carvers before the arrival of Pākehā (Buck 1920:455, Ngata 1940:310,324). Buck had suggested that in pre-colonial projects, male tohunga (experts) had undertaken this work inside the house, while assistants stood outside to return the stitching. These assistants, wrote Buck, could have been female, but they were not allowed to enter the house and had no design input (Buck 1920:455). Ngata departed from this custom by employing women to make tukutuku 18 He may have believed that tukutuku was a skill that required specialist workers, who would produce better results for the School's projects than whakairo experts, who had other artistic commitments (Ōmaka Marae Committee 1985:6). With respect to training only female specialists, Ngata could have regarded tukutuku as a form of stitching, which was a female craft in Pākehā society (Ngata 1940:324). Since women were prohibited from entering meeting houses while they were under construction, most of the School's tukutuku work was produced in workshops (Barrow 1964:62, Ngata 1940:324-25).


Some, but not all, of the projects built by Ngata and the School featured a variety of tribal whakairo, tukutuku and kōwhaiwhai styles and themes. A - 263 wide selection of tribal whakairo styles were used in the Waitangi meeting house and Te Aute College assembly hall projects (Cresswell 1977:14, Pine Taiapa in Te Aute College 1993:29). This variety also reflected the multi-tribal functions of both buildings. Ruatepupuke's tukutuku, whakairo and kōwhaiwhai illustrated a number of tribal styles for Ngāti Porou to appreciate (Mepham 1969:3, Phillipps n.d.[a]). The whakairo panels, in particular, were not only executed in the Gisborne and Ngāti Porou styles, but also depicted whakapapa (genealogical) links between the Cook Island and New Zealand Māori (Mepham 1969:8, Phillipps 1944:111). This latter connection was made in recognition of the Rarotongan delegation's expected attendance at Ruatepupuke's 1934 opening (Mepham 1969:3, Ngata to Buck, 17 August 1935, in Sorrenson 1987,III:195). Likewise, the Sir Māui Pōmare memorial meeting house, Te Ikaroa-a-Māui of Taranaki, featured multi-tribal tukutuku and whakairo. Many of its Whanganui, Rotorua and East Coast tukutuku patterns were probably selected for aesthetic reasons, although Ngata specifically included East Coast whakairo panels among the local Taranaki work in recognition of Lady Pōmare's whakapapa (Historic Places Trust 8/17/4/28 227-230, Ngata to Buck, 17 August 1935, in Sorrenson 1987,III:191, Pine Taiapa in Te Aute College 1993:29, Schwimmer 1959:50). The tukutuku and whakairo panels in Ngāti Raukawa's eponymous meeting house emphasised the genealogical and political links between the local Ōtaki people and the Waikato and East Coast tribes. One of Raukawa's door lintel carvings depicted the two ancestors of the Waikato and East Coast tribes who became the parents of Raukawa, the founding ancestor of the Ōtaki people (Evans 1983:75). A Waikato tribal tukutuku pattern, niho taniwha, was used in Raukawa to reinforce this tribal link (Taiapa n.d.: 101). It appears that Ngata and the School included a variety of multi-tribal whakairo and tukutuku styles to reflect the functions of certain buildings. Other projects perpetuated the practice of depicting selected patterns, styles, or ancestors to reinforce important past, present and future allegiances.

Ngata's deliberate rejection of Te Kooti Arikirangi Te Tūruki's earlier multi-tribal architectural innovations, which could have otherwise been a model for the School's work, may have been influenced by his tribal, political and Anglican loyalties. He described Te Kooti as “the last and greatest representative of the worst side of the Maori character, its subtlety, cunning, and treachery, its cruelty and love of bloodshed and its immorality and fanaticism” (Ngata 1893:5). Ngata even cynically remarked that Te Kooti “was not a chief”, which was an ironic statement, since Ngata, himself, was not a hereditary chief (Ngata 1893:5). Ngata's Ngāti Porou tribe were loyalists, who had sided with the Crown and fought against Te Kooti during the New Zealand Wars (Sorrenson 1996:359). In addition there were - 264 significant religious differences between Ngata and Te Kooti. Although Te Kooti modelled his Ringatū religion on the Anglican Church, the parent church never recognised its Māori off-shoot. Hence Ngata had little regard for Te Kooti's spiritual views or religious architecture, and was keen to introduce “traditional” Māori work into “orthodox” church buildings. This practice did not necessarily imply a dislike of the contemporary Ringatū Church. After attending the Ringatū opening ceremony for the School's Tākitimu meeting house project, Ngata enviously remarked, “there is no doubt that the Ringatus [sic], whatever one may think of the principles of their Church, have maintained their rituals” (Ngata 18 April 1938). Yet, because of his particular tribal, political and religious viewpoints, Ngata equated Ringatū architecture with the New Zealand Wars and land confiscation. He regarded these events as low points in Māori economic and social history. For this reason, Ngata sought to retain what he perceived to be the useful elements of Ringatū architecture, while attempting to eliminate all obvious references to Te Kooti and the Wars from the School of Māori Arts and Crafts' architecture.

Ngata's respect for the “orthodox” religions, and consequential dislike of Ringatū spiritual symbolism, was obvious in his acceptance of church and chapel commissions. Between 1926 and 1950, he worked on the St Mary's, St Faith's, St Paul's, Otakou Methodist and Rangiaatea Churches, and the Hukarere Girl's School Chapel. His main role was to supervise their interior whakairo panels, tukutuku, kōwhaiwhai paintings, and kākaho lining. Whakairo, which was not a common feature in 20th century churches, had been perceived as representing paganism, idolatry and the Ringatū religion by some 19th century churches (Ngata c.1931). Indeed, unlike Ringatū Church architecture, all of Ngata's church projects retained a Pākehā-style exterior design (Wilson 1993:44, 45).

Ngata believed that other Ringatū architectural innovations deviated from “traditional” Māori art. He blamed the historical “degeneration of Gisborne” architecture on the influence of Te Arai carvers who had travelled with Te Kooti to the Bay of Plenty and King Country. Te Whai-a-te-Motu, at Ruatahuna, and Te Tokanganui-a-Noho, in Te Kūiti, were meeting houses singled out by Ngata as examples of this decline (Ngata 1958a:37). He described Ringatū carving as “stiff and characterless”, and condemned its departure from past styles. In particular, he disliked their use of “intrusive features”, like polychrome figurative painting and “substitute” tukutuku materials, such as Judson dyes, embroidery stitches and milled laths (Ngata 16 August 1926, 1940:320). As a consequence of Ngata's views, many of the houses that had been built for Te Kooti were either purposefully neglected, or rebuilt to eliminate Ringatū references, or destroyed (Gretton 1990:36).

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The practice of figurative painting, inspired by the early Ringatū Church, was all but abandoned because of the School's influence (Neich 1993:118). 19 Figurative paintings were only reproduced by the School on two occasions. In 1936 as a tribute to the Ngāti Porou carver Hone Ngatoto, the School copied his kōwhaiwhai-style figurative paintings from the Church of St Mary into their nearby Tawhiwhirangi dining hall project (Neich 1993:118). Ngata may have been comfortable with the idea of having figurative paintings inside Tawhiwhirangi, since it was an informal building and not a meeting house (Neich 1993:119). Three years later, the School also copied a frieze of naturalistic taniwha into the Whitireia meeting house from the neighbouring Wahoterangi building (Neich 1993:118). But, in general, the School did not practise this Ringatū art, even when their projects were built next to, or replaced, houses containing figurative paintings (Neich 1993:118).

Ngata may have used the School's renovation of the Ringatū houses, Tākitimu and Te Poho-o-Pikihoro, to place his mana over that of Te Kooti. During the Te Poho-o-Pikihoro project, Ngata asked John Taiapa to make a carving in the likeness of a royal coat of arms, which had been painted below the front internal window sill of the original house (Gisbone Herald 7 March 1958). In earlier times, before he had even visited the house, Te Kooti had foreseen the painting as a bad omen and symbol of loyalty to the Government. He remarked to local Te Karaka elders: “That house is divided against me. If not, why is the lion living in the house?” (Gisborne Herald 1 February 1951 & 8 March 1958).

In line with this prophecy, Te Kooti was arrested when he attempted to go to Te Poho-o-Pikihoro's opening. Ngata effectively replaced Te Kooti's mana with his own by enhancing the coat of arms. Indeed, as in Tākitimu, all of Te Poho-o-Pikihoro's original Ringatū figurative paintings were obliterated during the renovation. Whether or not Ngata was aware of his actions, by obliterating Ringatū architectural concepts and enhancing loyalist ideas, he had illustrated his own allegiances and mana to Te Kooti's detriment.

Unlike vernacular building practice, where people repeat techniques and designs without question, the “School of Māori Arts and Crafts” architecture developed new concepts and adapted old ideas to meet the changing needs of Māori. Under Ngata's guidance, the School deliberately appropriated ideas presented by Pākehā and Christian sources to prevent its architecture from being completely replaced by Western buildings. To make his architecture conform to Pākehā regulations, Ngata reluctantly included state-imposed design innovations in the School's projects, which he tried to disguise so that the “traditional” appearance of the School's buildings would - 266 be sustained. There were other Pākehā design features from community halls that were appropriated to facilitate gatherings in meeting houses and attract younger Māori to marae. Ngata openly acknowledged that these appropriations were not “traditional”, but argued that they were necessary for Māori cultural progress. Māori concepts of building were also redeveloped. Eramiha Kapua's involvement led to the observance of whare wānanga protocols within the Western-style academic curriculum. Some Ringatū architectural influences were purposefully rejected by Ngata in favour of other Māori decorative methods, since he feared that revisiting concepts connected to Te Kooti would hinder state-assistance and inter-tribal cohesion.

While it can be acknowledged that the School succeeded in perpetuating Māori architectural arts, it is also important to note that the School played an integral role in Ngata's wider counter-colonial programme. Ngata manipulated Western notions of “tradition” in the School's building projects to idealise the past in a way that was acceptable to Pākehā, in order to obtain state-funding for his architectural “renaissance”. Nevertheless, Ngata's renaissance assisted Māori economic and social development. Through the School's architectural projects, which aided the progress of the land development schemes, Ngata managed to establish a limited form of tribal financial independence. For reasons which are not clearly apparent, Mataatua and Te Arawa, the tribes identified with most of the permanent staff of the School, did not benefit from the building programme, while many projects were built in Ngata's East Coast electorate (Mead 1995:197). Perhaps mindful of the allegations of tribal favouritism that had been directed towards him, Ngata summarised his contribution, and that of the School, to Maori architecture in the following passage, written two months before his death.

I have not asked or received a penny for my services over twenty-four years with twenty-nine first class Maori meeting houses and halls, the construction of which I have organised and supervised since 1925. If anything, I have been a heavy loser in time, much time, and out of pocket expenses, and constant heavy contributions from the resources of the lands in which my family and I, and our immediate relatives, are interested…. My reward has been the pleasure that the possession of these marae buildings has given and is giving and will continue to afford many communities up and down the North Island, the great satisfaction New Zealand feels that the arts native to it have been received and successfully adapted to the needs of the day (Ngata 24 April 1950).

- 267 Page of endnotes

- 268 Page of endnotes

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Building name and location is followed by the year that the building was opened.

  • 1. The Bungalow / Whare Hou, Ngata's residence, Waiomatatini, 1916.
  • 2. The Church of St Mary, Tikitiki, 1926.
  • 3. Māhinaarangi meeting house, Tūrangawaewae marae, Ngāruawāhia, 1927.
  • 4. St Faith's Anglican Church, Ōhinemutu, 1927.
  • 5. Hinetapora meeting house, Mangahanea, Ruatōria, 1930s.
  • 6. Te Poho-o-Rāwiri meeting house, Kaiti, Gisborne, 1930.
  • 7. Lady Arihia and Makarini memorial dining hall, Waiomatatini, 1930.
  • 8. Ruatepupuke meeting house, Pakirikiri marae, Tokomaru Bay, 1934.
  • 9. Te Hau-ki-Tūranga, Dominion Museum, Wellington, c. 1936.
  • 10. Tawhiwhirangi dining hall, Te Rahui, Tikitiki, c. 1936.
  • 11. Te Ikaroa-a-Māui meeting house, Owea marae, Waitara, 1936.
  • 12. Raukawa meeting house, Ōtaki, 1936.
  • 13. St Paul's Memorial Church, Pūtiki, 1937.
  • 14. Porourangi meeting house, Waiomatatini, 1938.
  • 15. Hinerupe meeting house, Te Araroa, East Coast, 1938.
  • 16. Rongomaitapui dining hall, Te Araroa, East Coast, 1938.
  • 17. Taihoa dining hall, Taihoa marae, Te Uhi, Wairoa, 1938.
  • 18. Tawhiorangi dining hall, Mangahanea, Ruatōria, 1938.
  • 19. Tākitimu meeting house, Tākitimu marae, Wairoa, 1938.
  • 20. Uruika meeting house, Tapuaekura, 1938.
  • 21. Hinematikotai dining hall, Pakirikiri marae, Tokomaru Bay, 1939-42.
  • 22. Whitireia meeting house, Whangarā, 1939.
  • 23. Whare Rūnanga, New Zealand Centennial Exhibition, Wellington, 1939.
  • 24. Tukaki meeting house, Te Kaha, 1944 or 1950.
- 270
  • 25. Ruakapanga meeting house, Hauiti, Tolaga Bay, 1944.
  • 26. Hinepare dining hall, Rangitūkia, East Coast, 1945.
  • 27. Kapohanga meeting house, Hiruhārama, 1946.
  • 28. Ngā Tamatoa dining hall, Hiruhārama, 1946.
  • 29. Maungarongo dining hall, Muriwai, 1946.
  • 30. Whakarua Memorial Hall, Ruatōria, 1947.
  • 31. Otakou Methodist Church, Otakou marae, Otago Heads, 1948.
  • 32. Kahungunu meeting house, Kahungunu marae, Nūhaka, 1949.
  • 33. Waitangi meeting house, Waitangi, 1949.
  • 34. Te Poho-o-Rukupō meeting house, Maori Battalion marae, Manutuke, 1950.
  • 35. Rangiātea Church, Ōtaki, 1950.
  • 36. Lady Arihia and Makarini Memorial dining hall II, Waiomatatini, 1950.
  • 37. Te Aute College assembly hall, Hawkes Bay, 1950.
  • 38. Iritekura meeting house, Waipiro marae, Waipiro, 1951.
  • 39. Hukarere Chapel, Hukarere Girls School, 1953.
  • 40. Te Poho-o-Pikihoro meeting house, Takipu, 1958.
  • 41. Kahukuranui meeting house, Omahu, Hastings, n.d.
  • 42. Toorere-nui-a-Rua meeting house, Toorere, n.d.
  • Archey, Gilbert, 1933. Wood-carving in the North Auckland area. Records of the Auckland Institute and Museum, 2(3): 171-75.
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  • Balneavis, H.R.H., 26 July 1935. Letter to Secretary of Rotorua R.S.A., “Maori Arts and Crafts Board 1923-39”. Māori Affairs Papers, Series 51, No. 2.14a. National Archives, Wellington.
  • ——19 September 1935. Letter to D. Ellison, “Raukawa Carved Meeting House, Otaki, 1931-37”. Māori Affairs Papers, Series 51, No. 132/1, Box 13. National Archives, Wellington.
  • ——3 October 1936. Letter to J.S. Jessep (East Coast Commissioner), “Takitimu Meeting House 1934-36”. Māori Affairs Papers, Series 51, No. 139, Box 14. National Archives, Wellington.
  • ——16 November 1936. Letter to T K. Roera, “Te Iwa-tekau-ma-iwa Meeting House, Awahui”. Māori Affairs Papers, Series 51, No. 104, Box 12. National Archives, Wellington.
  • ——13 October 1937. Letter to Rangi Mawhete (Legislative Council), “Maori Arts and Crafts Board 1923-39”. Māori Affairs Papers, Series 51, No. 2.14a. National Archives, Wellington.
  • ——14 October 1937. Letter to Under-Secretary Of Native Department, “Maori Arts and Crafts Board School Site”. Māori Affairs Papers, Series 51, No. 21a. National Archives, Wellington.
  • ——9 December 1938. Letter to F. Langstone (Acting Native Minister), “Waitangi
- 271
  • House”.Māori Affairs Papers, Ace. No. W2490, Item Ref. 34/3/56, Part 4, Box 15. National Archives, Wellington.
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  • ——1976. A Guide to the Maori Meeting House Te Hau-ki-Tūranga. Wellington: National Museum.
  • Board of Māori Arts and Crafts, 10 May 1936 - 27 June 1936. Wage-sheets of Workers Employed on Māui Pomare Memorial Hall, “Māui Pomare Memorial Hall, Waitara, 1936”. Māori Affairs Papers, Series 51, No. 99, Box 11. National Archives, Wellington.
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  • ——3 December 1933. Letter to Ngata, “Ramsden Papers”. MS Papers 196/319. Manuscripts and Archives, Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington.
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  • Cresswell, John, 1977. Maori Meeting Houses of the North Island. Auckland: P.C.S. Publications.
  • Cruickshank, Dan (ed.), 1996. Sir Bannister Fletcher's A History of Architecture. Oxford and Boston: Architectural Press. Daily Telegraph. 14 March 1939.
  • Dominion. 7 April 1927.
  • ——18 August 1927.
  • ——21 September 1928.
  • ——13 February 1936.
  • Evans, Maureen, 1983. Tribal houses. In Historic Buildings of New Zealand - North Island. Auckland: New Zealand Historic Places Trust and Cassell New Zealand, pp.68-79.
  • Evening Post. 30 November 1926.
  • ——17 August 1927.
  • ——10 May 1948.
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  • Gisborne Herald. 1 February 1951.
  • ——18 July 1951.
  • ——7 March 1958.
  • ——8 March 1958.
  • Gretton, Lloyd, 1990. The “Dream World” of painted Rongopai. Historic Places, 29:35-39.
  • Hamilton, Harold, 20 May 1927. Letter to H.R.H. Balneavis (Secretary to Native
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  • Minister), “Maori Arts and Crafts Board 1923-39”. Māori Affairs Papers, Series 51, No. 2.14a. National Archives, Wellington.
  • ——2 May 1934. Letter to Apirana Ngata, “Treaty of Waitangi House 1932-39”. Māori Affairs Papers, Series 51, No.148, Box 16. National Archives, Wellington.
  • ——19 September 1934. Letter to Apirana Ngata, “Treaty of Waitangi House 1932-39”. Māori Affairs Papers, Series 51, No. 21. National Archives, Wellington.
  • Hawkes Bay Tribune. 15 March 1928.
  • Historic Places Trust (Marae Buildings Record Form), n.d.(a). Te Ikaroa-a-Māui Meeting House, Manukorihi Marae, Waitara. File Ref. 8/17/4/28, Rec. No. 0128 227-230. Historic Places Trust, Wellington.
  • ——n.d.(b). Te Poho-o-Rāwiri, Te Poho-o-Rāwiri Marae, Gisborne. File Ref. 8/17/4/99, Rec. No. 0186.
  • King, Michael, 1991a. Māori. Auckland: Reed.
  • ——1991b. Whina - A Biography of Whina Cooper. Auckland: Penguin Books.
  • Langstone, Frank, 19 April 1938. Letter to Apirana Ngata, “Takitimu Meeting House”. Māori Affairs Papers, Acc.No. W2490, Item Ref. 34/3/44, Box 15. National Archives, Wellington.
  • ——c.February 1944. Note on letter from Under-Secretary of Native Department, “Te Kaha Carved Meeting House 1938-44”. Māori Affairs Papers, Series 51, No. 26/9/19/2, Box 27. National Archives, Wellington.
  • MacKay, Joseph Angus, 1966. Historic Poverty Bay and the East Coast, North Island, New Zealand. Gisborne: J.G MacKay.
  • Māori Purposes Fund Board, 7 May 1932. Resolutions Passed by the Maori Purposes Fund Control Board, “Waima Carved Meeting House 1932-34”. Māori Affairs Papers, Series 51, Box 15, No.146. National Archives, Wellington.
  • ——17 October 1935. “Carving Shed, Wellington”. Māori Affairs Papers, Series 51, No. 21. National Archives, Wellington.
  • Mead, Hirini (Sidney) Moko, 1995. Te Toi Whakairo - The Art of Maori Carving. Auckland: Reed Publishing.
  • Mepham, John, 1969. Story of Te Hono-ki-Rarotonga. Gisborne: Logan Print.
  • Mitchell, J.H., 1972. Takitimu. Gisborne: Te Rau Press.
  • Native (Affairs) Department, 26 July 1939. Letter to W.R.B. Oliver. Series 6, Sub. No. 0/81. Hector Library, Te Papa Tongarewa-Museum of New Zealand, Wellington.
  • ——12 May 1943. Letter to Head Office from Auckland Registrar, “Panguru Meeting House 1933-63”. Māori Affairs Papers, Acc. No. W2490, Item Ref. 34/3/52, Box 15. National Archives, Wellington.
  • ——8 May 1947. Letter to Native Minister, “Maori Arts and Crafts School”, Vol. II. Māori Affairs Papers, Series 51, No. 26/9/22/8, Box 27. National Archives, Wellington.
  • Neich, Roger, 1977. Historical Change in Ngāti Tarāwhai Woodcarving Art. Unpublished MA thesis, Victoria University of Wellington.
  • ——1983. The veil of orthodoxy: Rotorua Maori woodcarving in a changing context. In S. M. Mead, and B. Kernot (eds), Art and Artists of Oceania. Palmerston
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  • ——Summer 1990-91. The Maori carving art of Tene Waitere. Art New Zealand, 57:73-79.
  • ——1991. Jacob William Heberley of Wellington - A Maori carver in a changed world. Records of the Auckland Institute and Museum, 28:69-146.
  • ——1993. Painted Histories - Early Maori Figurative Painting. Auckland: Auckland University Press.
  • Ngata, Apirana, n.d., Note, “Erection of a Workshop on Top of the Roof of the War Memorial Museum of Auckland”. Māori Affairs Papers, Series 51, No. 21. National Archives, Wellington.
  • ——1893. The Past and Future of the Maori. Christchurch: Christchurch Press.
  • ——1909. “Draft Statement of the Aims and Objectives of the Young Maori Party”. Māori Purposes Fund Board Papers, MS Papers 189, Folder 11. Manuscripts and Archives, Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington.
  • ——16 August 1926. Letter to Secretary of Board of Māori Ethnological Research, “Maori Arts and Crafts Board 1923-39”. Māori Affairs Papers, Series 51, No. 2.14a. National Archives, Wellington.
  • ——1928. Anthropology and the government of the native races in the Pacific. Australasian Journal of Psychology and Philosophy, 6(1): 1-14.
  • ——1931. Appendices to the Journal of the House of Representatives, G-10, Vol. 2, pp.i-xxiii. Wellington.
  • ——c.1931. Letter to W.G. Williams, “Rangiatea Church, Otaki, 1931”. Māori Affairs Papers, Series 51, No. 131, Box 13. National Archives, Wellington.
  • ——31 October 1933. Letter to Buck, “Ramsden Papers”. MS Papers 196/319. Manuscripts and Archives, Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington.
  • ——23 February 1934. Letter to H. Hamilton, “Waima Carved Meeting House 1932-34”. Māori Affairs Papers, Series 51, No. 146, Box 15. National Archives, Wellington.
  • ——26 February 1934. Letter to R.J. Wills, “Waima Carved Meeting House 1932-34”. Māori Affairs Papers, Series 51, No. 146, Box 15. National Archives, Wellington.
  • ——19 March 1934. Letter to Turi (?), “Tākitimu Meeting House 1934-36”. Māori Affairs Papers, Series 51, No. 139, Box 14. National Archives, Wellington.
  • ——10 October 1935. Letter to George Forbes, “Tākitimu Meeting House 1934-36”. Māori Affairs Papers, Series 51, No. 139, Box 14. National Archives, Wellington.
  • ——18 April 1938. Letter to I.L G. Sutherland, “Apirana Ngata Papers”. MS Papers 123, Folder 1. Manuscripts and Archives, Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington.
  • ——30 April 1938. Letter to Frank Langstone, “Takitimu Meeting House”. Māori Affairs Papers, Acc. No. W2490, Item Ref. 34/3/44, Box 15. National Archives, Wellington.
  • ——c. August 1938. Letter to?, “Waitangi House”. Māori Affairs Papers, Acc. No. W2490, Item Ref. 34/3/56, Part 4, Box 15. National Archives, Wellington.
  • ——1 November 1938. Letter to John Houston, “Correspondence of Apirana Ngata”.
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  • qMS 1586. Manuscripts and Archives, Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington.
  • ——31 July 1939. Letter to O.N. Campbell (Under Secretary of Native Department), “Meeting House Employment Promotion”. Māori Affairs Papers, Acc. No. W2490, Item Ref. 34/1/2, Box 14. National Archives, Wellington.
  • ——1940. Maori arts and crafts. In I.L.G. Sutherland (ed.), The Maori People Today. Wellington: New Zealand Institute of International Affairs and the New Zealand Council for Educational Research, pp. 307-35.
  • ——31 October 1942. Letter to W.J. Phillipps, “Apirana Ngata Papers”. qMS 1588. Manuscripts and Archives, Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington.
  • ——13 December 1944. Letter to I.L.G. Sutherland, “Apirana Ngata Papers”. MS Papers 123, Folder 1. Manuscripts and Archives, Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington.
  • ——16 April 1947. Letter to Eric Ramsden, “Eric Ramsden - Apirana Ngata Correspondence”. MS Papers 196, Folder 376. Manuscripts and Archives, Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington.
  • ——14 June 1948. Letter to Eric Ramsden, “Eric Ramsden - Apirana Ngata Correspondence”. MS Papers 196, Folder 377. Manuscripts and Archives, Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington.
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  • ——24 April 1950. Preliminary Notice, “Eric Ramsden - Apirana Ngata Correspondence”. MS Papers 196, Folder 377. Manuscripts and Archives, Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington.
  • ——1958a. The origin of Maori carving - Part 1. Te Ao Hou, 22:30-37.
  • ——1958b. The origin of Maori carving - Part 2. Te Ao Hou, 23:30-34.
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1   Paul Oliver defines vernacular builders as, “customarily from the communities which use the structures and are frequently owner-builder-occupiers, the process of building being learned by each successive generation” (Oliver 1997:xxiii). The suggestion is that each successive generation does not attempt to develop or change the process of building, and instead only learns from and reproduces what has been made before.
2   Fletcher's “tree” has a common ancestor who generated a number of branches, representing the buildings of various cultures. The non-European branches are shorter and have no subsequent issue in contrast to their Western equivalents. Fletcher explains that these non-European branches had no history because they did not influence Western architecture (Fletcher 1945:888). There is no Māori or Oceanic branch on Fletcher's tree.
3   Even in the revised edition of Fletcher's History of Architecture (1996) which purports to “contain more information about vernacular buildings” bycontemporary contributing editors, the entry for New Zealand warns that Maori architecture “cannot be easily related to architecture derived from Europe”(Cruickshank 1996:i, Saunders 1996:1281).
4   For anccount of each of the School's building projects see Brown 1997:327-72.
5   Apirana Turupa Ngata, of the Ngāti Porou tribe, was born on 3 July 1874, at the East Coast settlement of Te Araroa. With the support of Sir James Carroll and the Liberal Party, Ngata won the Eastern Māori seat in the 1905 general election and retained the seat for 38 years. Throughout his political career, he attempted to dismantle assimilationist policies by introducing legislation that recognised a national Māori identity and tribal economic self-determination.
6   The inaugural Māori Arts and Crafts Board members were Apirana Ngata, Peter Buck, Harold Hamilton, R. F. Bollard (Minister of Internal Affairs), the Under-Secretary of Internal Affairs, the Under-Secretary of Public Works, Māui Pōmare (Minister for the Cook Islands), Archdeacon H. W. Williams, H. T. Mitchell, G. E. Archey, Te Mōrehu Kirikau, W. Page-Rowe (artist) and J. M. McDonald (Assistant-Director of the Dominion Museum) (Evening Post 30 November 1926:10, 17 August 1927:11).
7   Pine Taiapa was a Te Aute College old boy and former Māori All Black (Shadbolt 1971:2433). While working on his family's Tikitiki farm in 1925, he was asked to assist Hone Ngatoto with the construction of St Mary's Church. After six months of doing odd jobs, Pine was taught how to carve by Ngatoto, and must have come to Ngata's attention around this time (Shadbolt 1971:2434).
8   Their conflict of opinion arose after Ngata appointed Wills to produce the working drawings for the chapel and then invoiced Wood for Wills' work (Ngata 16 April 1947). Wood was unhappy that Ngata had appointed a builder to produce the plans, and refused to pay his bill. The architect also made what Ngata called “some scathing comments on some of the details” (Ngata 16 April 1947). In particular, Wood claimed that Ngata's inclusion of a dado running below the window sills was “un-Maori”. Ngata was upset by Wood's remarks, and did not “relish having to confer again with the architect and to teach him from the experience of the North Island developments over the last generation” (Ngata 16 April 1947).
9   Tākitimu was the largest meeting house that Wills built, with a 28.5m by 11.5m floor plan (Mitchell 1972:202). The smallest meeting house was Hinerupe, which was 18 metres long and 6 metres wide (Ngata 31 October 1942). Taihoa, at 23 metres by 10 metres, was the School's biggest dining hall, while Ngā Tamatoa was the most compact example, being 18 metres in length (Phillipps n.d.[a] & n.d.[d]).
10   These projects were: the Māhinaarangi building, Arihia Memorial Hall, Te Poho-o-Rāwiri meeting house, Ruatepupuke meeting house, St Paul's Memorial Church, Raukawa meeting house, Ikaroa-a-Māui meeting house, Tawhiwhirangi dining hall, Tawhiorangi dining hall, Porourangi meeting house, Hinerupe meeting house, Rongomaitapui dining hall, Tākitimu meeting house in Wairoa, Kapohanga meeting house, Ngā Tamatoa dining hall, and the Whitireia meeting house (Balneavis 9 December 1938).
11   Ngata would commence work on a house regardless of whether or not there was enough money to complete the project (Schwimmer 1959:34). If the community's finances were exhausted before the house had been completed, then the School would move on to the next commission while Ngata asked the Māori Purposes Fund, or other state organisations, for additional funding (Schwimmer 1959:34). According to Ngata, the School's projects were always opened debt-free (Ngata in Ramsden n.d.).
12   Some of Ngata's and the Taiapas' post-War projects were commissions that the School had accepted before its closure in 1938. These former School projects included the Kapohanga meeting house and Arihia II dining hall (Ngata c. August 1938).
13   The adoption of raised seating also led Ngata to move the papaka (carved skirting board) up to window-sill level, like a dado moulding (Ngata 16 April 1947). In a number of houses, Ngata chose not to use tukutuku panels which ran the full height of the walls. Instead, he installed smaller panels above the papaka, possibly to protect them from being kicked or otherwise accidentally damaged.
14   Ngata was comfortable with the idea of using one building for eating and sleeping; however, this concept was never universally accepted (Ngata in Ramsden 8 August 1946).
15   An increase in shoe-wearing foot-traffic almost led to the extinction of flax mat weaving. During the 20th century, woven floor coverings were gradually abandoned, and mats were only used on ceremonial occasions (Ngata 1940:327, Ngata in Ramsden 8 August 1946).
16   In early 1931, Haupapa and his students spent two weeks at the Auckland Museum studying examples of Northland and Whānau-a-Apanui whakairo (Ngata to Buck, 11 January 1931, in Sorrenson 1987, II:101). Three years later, three instructors and two Northland students returned to the Museum to reexamine the Northland carvings in preparation for the Waitangi meeting house project (Ngata to Buck, 17 March 1934, in Sorrenson 1987, III:138). A corrugated iron workshop for the carvers had been built on top of the Museum earlier that year (Hamilton 19 September 1934, Ngata to Buck, 17 March 1934, in Sorrenson 1987, III:138, Ngata n.d.).
17   Harold Hamilton ignored Kapua and Haupapa's warning, and took several bags of the tapu woodchips home to use as firewood. That evening Hamilton's wife broke her arm in a fall. She later became ill and had to be hospitalised, after Hamilton brought some more woodchips home. From this time on, Hamilton respected the “experts” advice and all the tapu woodchips were subject to careful disposal (Hamilton in Phillipps n.d.[d]).
18   Another theory, put forward by Mita Taupopoki, was that tukutuku had been originally made by women who worked in a different building to the men (Sun 5 July 1927:10, Mita Taupopoki in Sun 16 July 1927:8).
19   Neich has found that figurative painting was only executed on a few Tūhoe houses in the Ruatoki valley during the period of Ngata's meeting house revival (Neich 1993:118).