19 Dec 2011

Pa tours should attract visitors to Whakatane - runanga

9:57 am on 19 December 2011

A Ngati Awa Runanga member involved in the re-opening of a Whakatane meeting house hopes tours of the pa will help attract visitors to the city.

After the Crown confiscated it in 1879, the Mataatua wharenui spent more than a century being part of museum displays all over the world.

It was officially re-opened on Te Manuka Tutahi Marae on 17 September.

After the ceremony, Ngati Awa leader and historian Sir Hirini Moko Mead said the marae had the potential to become a tourist attraction.

A runanga member, Joe Harawira, says now plans to make that a reality have started, the runanga is looking to train whare tour guides.

He expects guides will be trained by February, and tours will begin shortly after.