A MATOU – About Us

Establishment of Kirikiriroa Marae

The vision and plans for Kirikiriroa Marae had their beginnings in the years following World War II. Those early years were hard on many of our whānau who had come to the cities to find work in order to provide for their families. Feelings of loneliness and disconnection from tribal lands and cultural knowledge became apparent, and so evolved the need for an urban marae where Maori could get together, talk about Maori issues, enact ceremony and engage in culturally relevant activities that would benefit them spiritually, socially and economically. And so a group calling themselves ‘Ngati Hamutana’ was borne and fundraising began.

There were many elders who have put their shoulder to the wheel to provide a base from which the marae could grow. One of these founding elders was kaumatua Kiwa Graham. The tables and forms he built by hand in his home garage are still here at the marae today. Local teachers, lawyers, ministers and a doctor joined in one thought. The late canon Witetau Huata had been referred to as the shepherd of the marae. The late Dr Doug Sinclair along with Danny Nepe and our Whaia Sister Heeni Wharemaru provided leadership and kept the dream alive.

The late Tohunga Whakairo Wikuki Te Uranga o Te Ra Kingi with his wife Evelyn “Tuss” Kirikowhai Kingi (nee Te Wiata) were also instrumental in the building of the whare tupuna here at Kirikiriroa. They came to the Marae in late 1977 after helping the whanau complete the Whare Tupuna Tuwaerea at Hui te Rangiora Marae in Hamilton West,an urban/church based marae. Both also remained heavily involved with Evelyns home Marae of Turangawaewae in Ngaruawahia. The carvings, kowhaiwhai and tukutuku were done as ‘mahi aroha’ under the leadership of Wikuki. Established in 1984 through Te Ture Whenua Act 1953, Maori Reservations Regulations 1963, with land set aside as a Marae Reservation, Kirikiriroa Marae was opened on the 1st of December 1984 by the Minister of Maori Affairs the Honorable Koro Tainui Wetere. Te Kuini Maori Te Ataiirangikaahu supported this historic occasion and bestowed the names “Te Kohao o Te Ngira” on the Whare Tupuna and “Kiritahi” on the Whare Kai.

Kirikiriroa Marae has registration as an Incorporated Society (Num. 212319) and has a Marae Committee that manages day-to-day operations of the marae. As a not-for-profit organisation, Kirikiriroa Marae is currently working to establish itself as a Charitable Trust with the Charities Commission. Kirikiriroa Marae Trustees working together with the Marae Committee are responsible for ensuring the sustainability and quality of inheritance for future generations. The marae continues to grow and expand in many different domains as we support the many peoples from nations locally and globally.


Current Marae Trustees

  • Raymond Mihaere, Chairman
  • Mitchell Martell
  • Nicola Te Kiri
  • Te Rangi Martell
  • Lara Ruakere
  • Donna Davis
  • Matiu Bevan
  • Michael Davis

Pou Tikanga

  • Wikuki Kingi, Tohunga Toi Ake
  • Rei Mihaere, Tohunga Toi Ake
  • Parekihairo Fatatautama

Kirikiriroa Marae Committee

Team of dedicated Marae Committee Whanau

Te Ranga Wananga Toi

  • Wikuki Kingi, Tohunga Toi Ake / Director
  • Inia Te Wiata, Tohunga Whakairo
  • Carving Team
    • Rei Mihaere, Tommy Rawiri, Kingi Tawhiao, Matiu (Taite) Bevan, Korotangi Kingi, Des Kahotea
  • Artisans
    • Te Reinga Kingi, Te Rangi Martell, Lara Ruakere, Ripeka Mihaere, Tania Wolfgramm, Rangirangi Rangiuaia, Nicola Te Kiri
  • Team of dedicated carvers, designers and supporting artists and whanau

Establishment of Te Runanga o Kirikiriroa

With the devolvement of Maori Trust Boards into Runanga structures in the 1980s, Wikuki Te Uranga o Te Ra Kingi saw the opportunity for Kirikiriroa Marae to develop a government recognised organisation that best suited urban Maori and Pacific people in the Hamilton Waikato area. Wikuki first sought the guidance of Te Arikinui Te Ataiirangikaahu who said to him, “If you can take care of yourselves, do so”.

Wikuki then began negotiations in Wellington and with local government representatives to create a Kirikiriroa Marae-based ‘urban’ Runanga. A memorandum from Mayor Sir Ross Jansen, and the Hamilton City Council was received by the Marae of Kirikiriroa requesting the Marae to help Council to form an organisation to assist Maori living in Hamilton. Several meetings were held in each ward of the city.

Confirmation meeting: In late 1985, after many meetings and negotiations Wikuki was able to convene a confirmation meeting on the Marae Atea of Kirikiriroa Marae that saw a memorandum of understanding signed between our patron Te Kuini Maori Te Atairangikaahu who chaired this important meeting and His Worship the Mayor Sir Ross Jansen. Many kaumatua, clergymen, teachers and residents of the city attended the full Council meeting held on the Marae Atea. This inaugural meeting officially adopted the Kirikiriroa Marae-based Runanga as the recognised Maori voice for Maori living in the Hamilton area. At this time Ripeka Mihaere was appointed as Manu Kuaka / Executive Officer for the Runanga and Council, tasked with buidling relationships between Maori and the community; the initial development of Te Runanga o Kirikiriroa; scoping opportunties, and strategic planning.

With Wikuki Te Uranga o Te Ra Kingi as the Chairman of the Runanga a constitution and trust deed were developed in 1988 and Te Runanga o Kirikiriroa was established as a Charitable Trust with several trustees. In the last twenty years, Te Runanga o Kirikiriroa has grown in leaps and bounds, and now works alongside the National Urban Maori Authority on a number of projects. Te Runanga offers a range of services – Pou Pakeke / Adult Services; Pou Taiohi / Youth Services; Pou Hapori / Community Services; as well as a number of commercial enterprises.

For further information about Te Runanga o Kirikiriroa please visit terunanga.org.nz

Establishment of Te Kohao Health

The development of Te Kohao Health was planned under Pou Oranga of Kirikiriroa Marae with the support of the local health authority and trade union in the late 1980s but gathered momentum in the mid-1990s with changes to local and national health policy. A dedicated small team including Aunty Piritata Kirkwood, Mariameno  kapa and Denise Kingi started the ball rolling our first office started in a humble garage storeroom down the back shed then moving to an 'A-frame' marae kaumatua whare for our first doctors surgery.

Now some 20 years on Te Kohao Health is a well established internationally recognised health provider under the management of Tureiti Moxon, and with the support of a multi-cultural team of over 100 workers, many who are Kirikiriroa Marae whanau. Its cultural orientation is manifest within its operating ethos and explicit in its creative artistic presentation – truly an example of a marae based health centre in full touch with its environment, community and client base. Te Kohao Health is the only marae based health provider operating within Hamilton and is a dedicated flagship example of traditional space and place- meeting great health outcomes – and realising Whanau Ora - in the 21st century.

For further information about Te Kohao Health please visit tekohaohealth.co.nz