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About the book
  • Published: 7 November 2014
  • ISBN: 9781775537236
  • Imprint: RHNZ Godwit
  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 416
  • RRP: $80.00

Marae — Te Tatau Pounamu

A Journey Around New Zealand's Meeting Houses


Formats & editions


A magnificent, prize-winning documentation of and tribute to New Zealand's wharenui, big and small.

A magnificent, prize-winning documentation of and tribute to New Zealand's wharenui, big and small.

Bishop Muru Walters is a very well known Anglican minister. He is also a master carver, poet, broadcaster and former Maori All Black. His son Robin is a photographer and filmmaker who is director at Curious Films. Sam Walters, Robin's wife, is a photographer. Together the Walters spent three years visiting some of this country's major meeting houses as well as many of the more humble ones — houses that serve smaller hapu and iwi — to bring together a beautiful photographic book on the meeting house.

They are intensively photographed, with detailed shots of their carvings, kowhaiwhai panels, tukutuku panels and much more. Many are photographed during an event, the images conveying a rich sense of life and activity.

From north to south, from the east coast to the west, and from ancient wharenui to bold new designs, this handsome book, with its engaging personal text, captures the huge variety of New Zealand's original architecture. It's a book for all New Zealanders to treasure.

Winner of Te Korero Pono - Non-Fiction category of the Nga Kupu Ora Maori Book Awards

  • Pub date: 7 November 2014
  • ISBN: 9781775537236
  • Imprint: RHNZ Godwit
  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 416
  • RRP: $80.00

About the Authors

Muru Walters

Rt. Reverend Bishop Muru Walters, MA, Dip Ed, LTh (Aot), Adv Dip Tchg, PGD (Arts), Pihopa o Te Upoko o te Ika. Muru Walters’ life achievements remain far from ordinary and include being an exceptionally talented Maori All Black who was awarded the Tom French Cup in 1957, while simultaneously being an art teacher and an avid practitioner of the visual arts.

In the 1960s Muru (Te Rarawa and Te Aupouri) was responsible for developing a Maori arts curriculum for primary and secondary schools in Northland while studying carving under the tutelage of Pine Taiapa. Having always been an active member of the Anglican Church, today Muru is a Bishop and a revered and influential member of both the religious and Maori community nationwide.

Muru has been involved in the same creative work that influenced and inspired people like Syd Meads, Fred Graham, Ralph Hotere, Kath Mataira, Para Matchiit, Cliff Whiting, to name a few, to share their skills in diverse fields. His life is described by Ngahiraka Mason as a blessed binding together of people. 'If you asked Muru Walters he would say he considered that life was a continuum of redemption and transformation and that one must take heart and find the joy in the ordinariness of life.' (Ngahiraka Mason, Turuki Turuki Paneke Paneke, 2009).

Robin Walters

Growing up in Dunedin, Robin Walters (Te Rarawa, Te Aupouri, Ngati Hine, Ngati Manu and Nga Puhi) was heavily engaged in the art world through his father. Robin pursued photography while at Otago Boys High School but did not perceive it as a way to earn a living until he arrived in London and found himself assisting some of Europe’s most well known fashion photographers.

From there, Robin went on to becoming a photographer in his own right and followed the natural progression that led to cinematography. He is now one of Australasia’s most renowned comedy film and commercial directors. With a host of awards to his name, Robin has a unique cinematic style that demonstrates not only his years of photographic experience but also a deep understanding of humanity and an ability to tell its stories with sensitivity and a distinctive appreciation of everyday beauty.

Sam Walters

Sam Walters was born and raised on the North Wales coast in the UK. She pursued and learnt the craft of photography as an assistant and studio manager to American photographer Robert Golden, who ran one of the busiest studios for advertising and editorial photography in London. Following a natural progression from this, Sam moved into film, producing TV commercials, short films and documentaries for the UK and Europe.

In the mid-nineties, Sam moved to New Zealand where, alongside film production work, she continued to pursue her photography before enrolling in a formal study of the arts at AUT University, where she gained a Bachelor of Visual Arts in 2002. After graduating she went on to tutor sculpture and photography for MIT on their Dip. Visual in Arts course at Rutherford.

Sam’s work has been a finalist in the Waikato National Contemporary Art awards and she frequently exhibits at galleries around Auckland.


Praise for Marae — Te Tatau Pounamu

“A stunning tribute to wharenui, Marae is a photographic insight into New Zealand's original architecture - the major and more humble meeting houses throughout the country. Some are intensively photographed, with detailed shots of carvings and panels, while others capture the marae's life and activity. With captivating personal text, this is a book for Kiwis to treasure.”

Australian Women's Weekly

“This book should sit on bookshelves in every New Zealand home, and be given to all our visitors, for it offers an insight into many things Maori and to gain a greater understanding of this is no bad thing.”

Gisborne Herald

“An important, timely and fascinating book.”

Art News New Zealand

“The variety of the buildings’ designs is astounding, big and little, ornate and humble. The book very much conveys the fact that the marae is a living community and cultural centre, not a dead historic fossil.”

Linda Herrick, Weekend Herald

“This terrific book feels like a gift. . . . [the] images convey not only the rich variety of approaches to building and decorating wharenui, but also the communities for whom these buildings form a heart. Just as important, their way of writing about the buildings is warm and informal, the requisite historical information peppered with details of who they met, how they negotiated access, and what it felt like to be in these places. It is generous and warm-hearted but never saccharine, deserving of a place on everyone's shelves.”

Jeremy Hansen, Home New Zealand

“The wharenui are intensively photographed with detailed shots of their carvings, kowhaiwhai panels, tukutuku panels and more. Many are photographed during an event, the images conveying a rich sense of life and activity. It’s been promoted as a book for all New Zealanders to treasure and nobody will argue with that. It’s worth every bit of its $80 price tag.”

Shane Hurndell, Daily Post


Awards & Recognition

  • Nga Kupu Ora – Aotearoa Maori Book Awards

    Awarded • 2015 • Te Korero Pono - Non-Fiction


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