Origins: Heritage of First Nations

a project by Border Crossings

Hinemihi Restoration








What’s it all about?  We area newly created project group formed with the sole purpose of setting the agenda for the restoration and ongoing use of the Maori whare/meeting house Hinemihi o te Ao Tawhito/Hinemihi of the Old World


Hinemihi was originally carved and constructed in the North Island settlement of Te Wairoa (near Rotorua) in 1881 and following the eruption of Mt. Tarawera in June 1886 was purchased by the Earl of Onslow, Governor of New Zealand 1889-1892.  Onslow shipped Hinemihi back to England and rebuilt her in the grounds of his country seat at Clandon Park, Surrey where she has stood in the open air for over 120 years.  Clandon Park has been owned and operated by the National Trust since 1956.  The Trust is a UK conservation charity which protects historic places and green spaces and opens them to members and the public at large.


A few years ago the Trust invited people interested in restoring Hinemihi to meet and discuss the ways and means of going about the task.  A komiti/committee was formed including members of Ngati Hinemihi from Aotearoa-New Zealand, the London-based Maori community (representatives from Ngati Ranana London Maori Club and Kohanga Reo language nest), University of London School of Archeology plus architects, conservators and others.


The komiti initiated various consultation projects and plans were drawn up for a full restoration of Hinemihi.  But projects like this cost money and the Hinemihi project is likely to amount to well over £250,000 depending on the extent of the restoration.  They also put together a well-thought out proposal bid to the Lottery Heritage Fund, but we failed to win their support on this occasion. 


So, now what…?  The idea of forming a separate ‘friends group’ group to continue the restoration plan and work closely with the National Trust came from the Trust itself.  A new komiti was formed in March 2012 and members of the original steering group agreed to continue with Te Maru O Hinemihi (which means In the Embrace of Hinemihi) and other people were also elected.  Jim Schuster from Ngati Hinemihi graciously agreed to be our President.


Our objectives are to create workable plans for four of the following five ‘R’s’ before the end of 2012. 

  • Repair Hinemihias a ‘short-term fix.’  She has a leaking roof, no electricity, lighting or heating.  She has no floor or the kind of internal decoration (such as woven and carved panels) she had back in Aotearoa.    
  • Restore Hinemihito her original condition, which includes the above, plus adding a new roof and extending her to her original length.  By preserving this unique whare (the only one in the UK and one of only three in Europe), we will turn her into a Whare Wananga - a house of learning where a wide variety of activities can take place for people belonging to different sectors of the community.
  • Re-programme Hinemihi and change her from an unusual – and little used - visitor attraction at Clandon Park (whose door is rarely opened to the public) into a living, working, functional building that will be open year-round.  
  • Redevelop Hinemihi with the addition of a utility building. 

And if all else fails, both the National Trust and the komiti must consider the final ‘R’……

  • Restitution Hinemihi – in other words, returning her to her homeland of Aotearoa- New Zealand. 

We now have a full komiti – but want to hear from people like you who have something worthwhile to offer this project.  What can you bring to Hinemihi’s table?  We are looking for energetic and creative people with a range of skills, including those with experience/interest in fundraising and who might already have key contacts in the business community. 


For more information see our website –


For further information get in touch with Alan Gallop (Chairperson – Te Maru O Hinemihi) 01784 246821


Border Crossings 
13 Bankside 
Enfield EN2 8BN

Telephone: +44 (0)20 8829 8928
Fax: +44 (0)20 8366 5239

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