The Name Takitimu
The Name Takitimu.
The name Takitimu is not of recent origin, but dates back to the first building erected by the late chief Pitiera Kopu at his pa called Te Hatepe, on the side of the Wairoa River opposite the Huramua Station, from which its present name is derived. The tiki or ornamental figure which adorned the outside barge boards was carved from an ancient water log said to have been one of the skids of the Takitimu canoe which fell loose into the Wairoa River, at the mouth of the Makeakea stream (nearly opposite Mr. Henry Fox's homestead on the Wairoa River) during this famous canoe's visit to Wairoa. On account of this outstanding feature, the building was regarded as extremely tapu or sacred and no food of any description was allowed to be eaten in it, neither was any form of amusement of a social nature permitted to be conducted in the building.
Years later, after the death of the late Pitiera Kopu in the year 1867, the people desiring to extend an invitation to Te Kooti Rikirangi, and not having a suitable building close at hand to accommodate such a notable person, the Takitimu meeting house was dismantled and re-erected at the Wai-hirere pa, alongside the building Hikurangi. About the year 1890, Te Kooti Rikirangi arrived in Wairoa and was the first person to occupy the house. On his departure he made the following prophetical utterance: "Ko koe e Te Wai-hirere ka pokia e te kohu a he wa ano tona ka puea." (You Te Wai-hirere shall become befogged, but in time you will again emerge.) As the years passed the building started to decay, and the powers of tohungaism ceased to the extent that no competent person was found available to uphold and carry out the sacred tradition and mystical custom pertaining to the house. It became abandoned and was eventually burnt down. Strangely enough, the building Hikurangi years later met with a similar fate, being also burnt down through some unknown cause. The chief and leader of the Ngai-te-Apatu who was in occupation at the time was the late Areta Te Rito. He died soon afterwards and as no thought of re-erecting another building was discussed or mooted by the people, the marae was abandoned by them and became "befogged."
Whatever transpired by the hand of time during the following years and up to the present time, one thing stands out clearly in the imagination and thoughts of those elders, as well as of page 199those of the present generation who are well acquainted with the past history, that the prophecies made by the two tohungas lived on up to the present time. For it was the same spirit which inspired the imagination of Sir Apirana Ngata to utilize his expert knowledge and to use the resources of finance within his power, together with the great support of his tribe, Ngati-Porou, in order that the present Takitimu meeting house might be erected. His was no easy task by any means and several obstacles had to be overcome during the intervening years of its construction. Fired with the same spirit which glowed in the heart of that renowned tohunga, Pakitea, Sir Apirana launched out with one objective, the erection of the Takitimu meeting house, and the fulfilment of a long desired wish by the people of Wairoa.