I was fascinated to see this Maori meeting house in the grounds of Clandon Park, Surrey. It immediately attracted me as I loved learning about the Maori culture in New Zealand during my November 2019 visit.
I discovered that the original meeting house, Hinemihi, had been sited in an area of New Zealand’s North Island which suffered a catastrophic volcanic eruption. Several people were killed, and the meeting house was damaged and abandoned.
The Earl of Onslow, then Governor of New Zealand, rescued a number of precious Maori carvings and had the damaged meeting house dismantled then transported back to his house and parkland at Clandon Park, Surrey.
Clandon Park itself has suffered disaster – major fire damage had nearly destroyed it but its structure remained intact and it is now the centre of a massive renewal project by the National Trust.
So here at Clandon Park our minds and imaginations are strongly focused on rescue, renewal and new life. An uplifting and inspiring visit.
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4 thoughts on “Rescued Maori Meeting House in the Grounds of an English Stately Home”
This is really interesting, Sheila. I’d love to see this especially as we can’t get to New Zealand right now. Where exactly is this place?
Thank you for your comment Sheila. Clandon Park National Trust is in Surrey at West Clandon Guildford GU4 7RQ. Both mansion and Maori meeting house have protective covering as the mansion is the subject of a massive restoration project. The mansion is being restored to its original 18th century design and the upper floors will be used as exhibition space. When fully restored and open again I imagine visitors will be able to go into the Maori meeting house too. At the moment visitors can enter the parkland and gardens without booking and we didn’t even have to show our National Trust membership cards.
This is a lovely story and I can see the parallels between the two buildings going through devastation and renewal and our lives at the present time. Thanks for sharing
Thank you for your comment Jenni. Yes it was only later that I saw the wonderful symbolism of the curiously parallel circumstances.