close

Exhibitions

Menu

Nuku Tewhatewha

11 Oct 2012 – 11 Oct 2050
Free

Ko te tohu o te Rangatira he pataka whakairo e tu na i roto i te pa tuwhatawhata
The sign of a chief is a carved storehouse standing within a palisaded pa

Nuku Tewhatewha, 2020. Photo by Mark Tantrum

Nuku Tewhatewha, 2020. Photo by Mark Tantrum

Nuku Tewhatewha, 2020. Photo by Mark Tantrum

Nuku Tewhatewha, 2020. Photo by Mark Tantrum

Nuku Tewhatewha, 2020. Photo by Mark Tantrum

Nuku Tewhatewha, 2020. Photo by Mark Tantrum

Nuku Tewhatewha, 2020. Photo by Mark Tantrum

Nuku Tewhatewha, 2020. Photo by Mark Tantrum

Nuku Tewhatewha at Brancepeth

Nuku Tewhatewha at Brancepeth

Nuku Tewhatewha is recognised as one of Te Awa Kairangi’s greatest treasures. Built in 1856, it is the only known intact pātaka of seven or eight known as Ngā Pou o te Kīngitanga (The Pillars of the Kingdom) that were carved across the North Island as symbols of support for the Kīngitanga (Māori King) Movement.

Commissioned by Wiremu Tako Ngātata (Te Āti Awa, Ngāti Ruanui, Ngā Ruahinerangi me etehi ano o ngā iwi o Taranaki), Nuku Tewhatewha was built by Ngāti Tūwharetoa tohunga whakairo Te Heuheu Tūkino IV (Horonuku).

The journey of this pātaka began in 1856 in Te Mako, the residence of Wiremu Tako Ngātata in Te Ngaengae (Naenae), where he was carved by Horonuku and his team of carvers. The land at Te Mako was then bought by a Yorkshireman, William Beetham, and in 1861 it was agreed that Nuku Tewhatewha would be cared for by Beetham. The agreement was maintained after their deaths by Beetham’s third son, George, and in 1888/89, Nuku Tewhatewha was moved to his home in Thorndon, Wellington. Nuku Tewhatewha remained there until 1912, when he was transferred to Brancepeth Station, Wainuioru, which was owned by Richmond and William Henry Beetham. Here the promise of kaitiakitanga was maintained and he was looked after by subsequent generations of the Beetham family until 1982, when a group of Te Āti Awa elders, led by Sir Makere Rangiatea 'Ralph' Love, a great grandson of Wiremu Tako Ngātata, accompanied the Tribal Tohunga, Ruka Broughton and Rangitihi Tahuparae, to bring Nuku Tewhatewha back to Te Awa Kairangi.

The important relationship between Wiremu Tako Ngātata and the Beetham family is a story about the making of a nation. This was a positive relationship between a Māori leader and a Pākehā family. They saw the future of a strong and unique nation.

Find out about our 
Nuku Tewhatewha
education programme

Find out about our
Nuku Tewhatewha
education programme