1 Dec 2011

Tender of $8-$12 million for Taupo meeting house accepted

7:14 pm on 1 December 2011

A tender price of between $8 and $12 million has been accepted for New Zealand's only privately owned Maori meeting house, built near Taupo over 140 years ago.

The Whare Whakairo, Te Tiki a Tamamutu, which is regarded as being of national importance, was commissioned by chief Hohepa Tamamutu of Oruanui between 1860 and 1870.

It's a cultural masterpiece with 44 carved figures, panels and pillars and a legacy to Wero Taroi, widely regarded as one of the greatest Maori master carvers.

In 1886 a European John Joshua bought the whare nui and shifted it to its present site at the Spa Hotel in Taupo.

Last month Webbs Auction House in Auckland called for tenders, after the current owners decided they didn't want to continue having the responsibility of guardianship.

Webbs managing director Neil Campbell says now an offer for the whare has been accepted, details of the purchase will be worked through over the next week or two.

He says the meeting house will be shifted from its current site, but where to is unclear at the moment.