At the Waiotemarama turnoff, about 2 kilometres north of Opononi, is the small historic maori settlement of Pakanae. We could see a church from the road and there was even a sign directing us to it and the Marae which shares the driveway.
The Marae is central to the Maori way of life, it is a focal point for groups who share kinship, whanau, hapu, iwi. Here they can meet to discuss and debate, to celebrate, to welcome the living and bid farewell to those that have passed on. There are over one thousand Marae throughout New Zealand in rural areas and in cities. In former times it was the open space and buildings in a settlement or pa (fortified settlement) where the community gathered. Today a Marae is a complex of buildings and open space, with facilities to cater for and accommodate a community and its visitors. In many cases they are not occupied continuously, or only by a small number, and are mainly used for hui (meetings) of many forms of the group sharing kinship and their guests.
There's a protocal surrounding visits to marae so we did not approach but were impressed by the pristine surroundings. It was in a much better state of repair than the church.
Guarding the approach to the marae were three canons, looking back down the Hokianga Harbour. And I think in the background is the monument to Kupe the ledgendary maori explorer who discovered New Zealand. Kupe is believed to have settled in the Pakanae area before his journey to Hawaiki to start the migration of the maori people to this land. Making the Hokianga truly the Cradle of the New Zealand.
Searching the internet for more information about Pakanae I found the following that I thought was interesting:
Maori Deeds of Land Purchases in the North Island of New Zealand: Volume One
Pakanae No. 3 Block, Hokianga District
1875. 18 June.Hokianga District.This Deed made the eighteenth day of June 1875 Between Her Majesty Queen Victoria on the one part and Te Waharoa, Rawiri Te Tahua, Wiremu Pakanae No. III. Rangatira, Wiremu Taui, Timo, Ngawati Remo; Keroama Tauehe; Hauraki Rewha, and Tawio Pouroto of Hokianga aboriginal Natives of the Colony of New Zealand (hereinafter called "the Vendors") of the other part Witnesseth that in consideration of the sum of one hundred and ninety nine pounds six shillings and three pence by Her Majesty paid to the Vendors Receipt for £199 . 6 . 3. on the execution hereof (and the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged) the Vendors do and each of them doth hereby surrender convey and assure unto Her said Majesty all that block of land containing Three thousand one hundred and eighty nine acres or thereabouts known or called Pakanae No. 3 as the same is more particularly described in the Schedule hereto and delineated on the plan drawn on this Deed and colored red together with all rights and appurtenances thereto belonging or appertaining. To hold the said land and premises with the appurtenances unto Her said Majesty Her Heirs and successors for ever. In Witness whereof the Vendors have hereunto set their names the day and year first above written.