Kia ora!  You have obviously heard about the Maori Meeting House - known as Hinemihi – standing in the grounds of the National Trust’s property at Clandon Park, otherwise you wouldn't be looking at this website! So I would like to take this opportunity to invite members of local societies in the Guildford and Woking area to come and learn more about this unique building, the only Maori Meeting House in the UK. Although Hinemihi has stood in the grounds at Clandon Park for over 120 years, she is still unknown to many local people who might like to discover more about her if an opportunity arose. We believe that Hinemihi is a valuable local resource to schools, colleges, clubs and societies because: 
  • She has a fascinating history.  Built in 1881 in New Zealand’s volcanic North Island and beautifully carved inside and out, Hinemihi was originally used as a village hall for local Maori in the tiny settlement of Te Wairoa.  In 1886 over 50 people sheltered inside her when Mr. Tarawera erupted.  They all survived although over 100 others died trying to seek refuge.  She was brought to Clandon in 1892 by the 4th Earl of Onslow following his term as Governor of New Zealand.  He paid £50 for Hinemihi and rebuilt her in the grounds of his Surrey estate.
  • Sadly, after 121 years in the open air, Hinemihi is now in need of urgent restoration.  But not enough people in and around Guildford and Woking know of her existence, her history and meaning to support our restoration plan. 
  • To increase support and qualify for monetary grants for our restoration project, we want to expand Hinemihi’s community.  The London-based Maori community has already taken Hinemihi to their hearts and visit Clandon for formal and informal gatherings and so we want to completely reinvigorate Hinemihi and turn her into a centre for local community learning; a place where groups such as yours can come and learn more about her from both Maori and English speakers and where your members can participate in a variety of workshops and activities based around different aspects of Maori culture.
  • We also want to make Hinemihi commercially available to groups and societies once she has been restored, including schools, faith groups, scouts and guides, history and archaeological groups – organisations just like yours.
On behalf of Te Maru O Hinemihi it gives us pleasure to invite representatives from local clubs / organisations to a series of informal introductions to Hinemihi at Clandon Park throughout September and October 2012 to hear more about our restoration plans and how you can be part of her story. If you are interested, please contact Alan Gallop at alan@alangallop.co.uk or call 01784 246821 as soon as possible. We hope you can join us. 
Alan Gallop - Chairman – Te Maru O Hinemihi