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Movement to Erect a Building

Movement to Erect a Building.

On the 18th September, 1926, the late Te Hata Tipoki took up the leadership of the tribe and summoned a meeting of members of the Ngati-Te-Apatu tribe to discuss the proposal that a new building be erected on the same site to replace one of the two buildings which had been burnt down.

During the meeting one of the main matters to occupy the minds and attention of all was the fact that the two previous buildings were not alike; in that whilst the Takitimu building was carved, the Hikurangi building had only ornamental carvings painted on, and not carved in the wood. The Takitimu building being the carved one of the two, was unanimously selected by all those present as the most fitting one to be re-erected. The size of the building was arranged to be 45 feet long and 30 feet wide, and the estimated cost of the material to be used in its construction was £2,000. The erection, supervising, and general labour was to be supplied by various members of the tribe.

Shortly after this meeting, the late Sir James Carroll, while passing through Wairoa on his way to Tauranga to unveil a memorial stone to his previous political colleague, the late Sir Wiliam Herries, who had pre-deceased him, called upon the late Hata Tipoki and many others, including the author. After the usual formal greetings in Maori were extended to Sir James, one of the various matters discussed was the proposed scheme for the erection of a building to be called Takitimu. Sir James was so interested and delighted with the proposal that he immediately got in touch with his nephew, Mr. A. T. Carroll, of Huramua Station, and instructed his chauffeur to go at once and bring him in from Huramua so that he might attend the meeting. On the page 200arrival of his nephew, Sir James addressed the meeting in one of his most memorable speeches, and the last that he ever spoke to any of his friends and relatives in Wairoa. His words of counsel fell on the ears of the people like a clarion-call, and the impression of his earnest appeal for unity and staunchness to one another became a knot of steel which human anger could not shatter or break.

The meeting was so impressive and inspiring that sleep was a forgotten thing and it lasted throughout the night. In the early hours of the morning the old man was farewelled by us all, and continued on his journey to Tauranga by car. Unconscious of the fact that this was our last parting in this world, we bade him farewell in the usual manner, hoping that he would have a pleasant trip and a safe return. His parting words, which now have stung our hearts were: "Noho iho ra e Hata; kia mau, kia kaha ki te whakaara i te oha a te hunga kua ngaro ki te Po, a maku koutou e tautoko." Added meaning and lustre were given to these words through the loss which we all suffered shortly afterwards in the passing of our friend, relative and guide. They may be translated as follows: "Remain behind Hata. Be strong in heart and spirit; do not waver one moment but be full of courage and staunchness to uphold the traditions and customs of your forebears which they learnt to love and die for in their days of trial and tribulation. My assistance and support is at your command at all times."

While attending the funeral tangi of Sir James at his home in Gisborne about a fortnight later, He Hata announced his intention of putting up a carved meeting house as a monument to the great legislator. This was the first suggestion that the proposed new Takitimu House be a memorial. Thus in order to carry out the old man's wish, both of reviving the old Marae, and bringing about unity among the people, was born the idea of the Carroll Memorial Marae, with all its buildings as it now stands.