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of the golden eyes


Ngāti Wāhiao

carving post.png
In the 1880’s Te Wairoa was a thriving village of about 150 people catering to the stream of tourists on their way to see the Pink and White terraces. Visitors were willing to pay a high price to visit the beautiful formations on Lake Rotomahana. Annual income for village residents was said to reach up to 4,000 pounds.
In the wharenui Hinemihi, tourists were usually entertained with an extended haka and arrangements for daily trips were made. The eyes of the carvings on Hinemihi were decorated with gold sovereigns, which replaced the previous paua shell.
Arrangements for trips the following day were made at Hinemihi.
On the night of the eruption many people sheltered in the wharenui. For six years after the eruption Hinemihi stood shrouded in mud at Te Wairoa. Then, in 1892, Lord Onslow, Governor General of the then Dominion, bought the meeting house for fifty pounds.
Hinemihi was dismantled and shipped to Clandon Park in Surrey, England, where she was redesigned as a boathouse.
Later, she was moved to the lawns closer to the house.  After World War 11 Clandon House and Hinemihi passed to the National Trust which turned its attention to conservation.
She was initially restored with a thick thatched roof – an error probably made by her look when covered with mud!
Hinemihi today has been restored with the help of Tūhourangi, and in particular the whānau of the late Emily Schuster.

Qualities: identity, relationships

More to watch:

From Tales from Te Papa, Ta Moko Panel, episode 24:

Light and sound broadcast on to Hinemihi in 2014:

On preserving Hinemihi:

More to read:


This entry is related to these other entries:

Tene Waitere: Raranga Whakairo; Alfred Warbrick’s Brave Rescue Efforts



Rotorua Museum Te Whare Taonga o Te Arawa

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