Hotuwaipara – School Marae

The Hutt Valley High School Marae was given the name Hotuwaipara by the late Jock McEwan and the late Sir Ralph Makere Love of Te Atiawa. Hotuwaipara was the mother of Tara, the ancestor of the tribe Ngai Tara. Her husband was the Whatonga of the Kurahaupo canoe, the principal ancestor of the Rangitane people (Manawatu region).

Hotuwaipara was Whatonga’s first wife. Her dignity was wounded when she cut her finger picking up a porcupine fish which was among a large haul of fish taken by Whatonga. Her son, who was born shortly afterwards, was named Tara-ika (fish spine), or Tara-nohu, because of the incident.

Hotuwaipara was exceedingly angry with Whatonga for supplying her with this fish. He is said to have set off on an exploration trip to allow her time to recover. He sailed down the Wairarapa coast to what is now Wellington and across Cook Strait to the South Island. He then paddled up the west coast to the Manawatu River and up that river to the vast forests, later known as Forty Mile Bush, which he named Te Tapere nui o Whatonga. The account of this exploration given by Whatonga on his return may have inspired the later migration of some of his descendants to the Wellington district.

The Māori name for Wellington Harbour is Te Whanganui-a-tara

The archway seen on the front of the school marae was carved in 2004-2005 by Terry Deverall and Year 10 students studying Māori. It features Hotuwaipara at the top, Whatonga on the left and Tara on the right. The two figures seen on the carving represent Graeme Marshall, a former Principal at HVHS who established the Marae, and Hine Amoamo, a long-standing Māori language teacher on the right.

In the interval of time between initial settlement and European settlement various tribes lived around the harbour. Summarised in succession they include: Ngai Tara, Ngati Mamoe, Ngati Kuia and Ngati Kura, Ngati Ira, Ngati Tahu, Ngati Kahungunu and Te Atiawa.

Hutt Valley High School practises the kawa of Te Atiawa.

(Reference: “A tribal History” by J.M.McEwan)