Te Rau Aroha

Whare Maumahara – Buy 

In the Treaty grounds at Waitangi, I found the Te Rau Aroha Museum. Officially opened on the 5th February, 2020 the Museum aims to foster the understanding and struggle by Māori Battalion soldiers for equality as citizens in their own country. Now, there aren’t many places that I would call humbling, however the Te Rau Aroha Museum is one of them. During World War II the name Te Rau Aroha was given to a mobile canteen truck, which was sent from New Zealand to Māori Battalion soldiers who served on the battlefields overseas. Once near the front, the canteen became a place for soldiers to gather and hear the latest news broadcasts, while enjoying sweet treats from home. When a name had to be chosen for the new museum in the Treaty Grounds, naming it after the treasured Te Rau Aroha canteen truck seemed a logical choice.

Among the galleries inside the Museum, one is a Whare Maumahara or Memorial Gallery which is designed for visitors, descendants and whānau. The feature within the Memorial is a massive and extremely impressive large-scale wooden artform made up of thousands of pieces of beech kauri that fills the room. Surrounding this on all four walls are thousands of names of men who served in the Māori Pioneer Battalion and the 28 Māori Battalion from both World Wars. Feeling humbled, I left the museum and headed for an extremely large waka.

Te Rau Aroha Museum

Te Rau Aroha MuseumBuy or view the Ōtepoti | Dunedin gallery

While walking at Waitangi ……
I found my way back to Te Rau Aroha Museum, which is located inside the treaty grounds itself. I had walked past it earlier, however with a culture show about to start, which I didn’t want to miss, I had made the decision to visit the museum on my return.

Te Rau Aroha Museum is a stunning and sobering experience. Divided into three galleries, the first gallery tells the story of the Māori commitment to the armed forces including the New Zealand Wars,  the Boer War, and a focus on the Pioneer Battalion of World War I and the 28 (Māori) Battalion of World War II. The second gallery tells the personal stories of the soldiers and their whānau from the 28 (Māori) Battalion’s while the third gallery is a contemplative Whare Maumahara (house of memories) for visitors, descendants and whānau. 

Waitangi Flag

Waitangi Flag, Waitangi – Buy

If you get the opportunity to go to the Treaty Grounds at Waitangi in the Bay Of Islands, it’s definitely a must do. Next time your own Instagram, if you look up the hashtag #mustdonz it won’t be to long before images of the treaty grounds pop up. It truly is a special place that gives you a much deeper understanding of the treaty, and possibly a different outlook on it.

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