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The Turama project honours the whakapapa (genealogical layers) that rest on the land of Whatitiripataihi and those who have been associated since the time of Ihenga (around 1300AD). The home is designed to provide a cloak of protection over those yet to be born into the whakapapa of Hine-i-Turama Te Koha-a-Ngatokowaru of Ngati Waoku. She is remembered as a gentle leader of great dignity, always willing to provide manaaki (hospitality/comfort) to all. She was killed on her father's Ngati Raukawa battlefields of Orakau (in the foothills of Maungatautari) in 1864 while administering water and aid to the fallen. Turama  Retreat is a living memorial to her vision, courage and values through selfless service to others, even at risk of own life.


The house also memorialises Retireti (Retreat),  first son of Phillip Tapsell and Hine-i-turama. He was born on Mokoia in 1836 at the height of the musket wars with the Waikato. His name commemorates his parents successful retreat from Maketu.

Retireti's leadership came to the fore in the early 1860s during New Zealand's civil wars. He fought in the Arawa Flying Column and became the nation's first Māori constable. In1880 he negotiated the Fenton Agreement with the Crown which provided for the establishment of the township now known as Rotorua.


Kouma Te Omeka Tapihana, son of Retireti was born at Maketu. He was a boy at the time of the 1886 Tarawera eruption. As a young man Kouma played international rugby for the Maori All Blacks and fought at Gallipoli where he was badly wounded. During his rehabilitation he was nursed by Enid Kelly, a young Irish woman whom he married in 1921. She fought for equal rights for Māori, became the first elected woman on Rotorua City Council and she was the first woman to sit on the Judiciary. She is best remembered for establishing the Rotorua Museum.


Kouma spent his final years in the gardens of Whatitiripataihi until passing away in 1964. Enid pursued her historical research until her passing in 1975.


The second eldest child of Kouma and Enid, Mark Tapsell Snr was born in Maketu in 1927. In the mid-1940s Mark become the first Māori to be awarded a Bachelor of Fine Arts, one year before Fred Graham. In 1953, while Quentin built the new homestead on Whatitiripataihi Mark set about building his art studio alongside. This studio still exists after being relocated to Ohinemutu village in 2011 where it is used to provide shelter to any needy tribal relations. Mark lived a bohemian dual life selling his art on both sides of the Tasman Sea. While in Sydney he lived a flamboyant gay lifestyle beyond the gaze of his less understanding tribal relations. An enigma to the end, in 1991 Mark Snr died under mysterious circumstances when he toppled in front of an arriving train at Kings Cross Underground Station..


Quentin Taiporutu was the youngest of Kouma and Enid's five boys. He was born 1937 and raised in Maketu. At age15 he accompanied his aged parents to Rotorua and built them a new homestead on Whatitiripataihi . It took one year and he learnt as he went from a library book and from locals like Hugh Fletcher. It was the first house in the wider Fairy Springs district. Quentin returned to school in 1954 and became Dux at Rotorua High School, before going on to become the first Māori to gain an MSc, assisting the world leading NZ team at Canterbury unlock the phosphorus allotropes of DNA. 


Since he can remember Paul has been intimately connected to Te Whatitiripataihi long before the surrounding Ngāti Waoku homes of his uncles and aunties were built. He grew up playing every weekend in the garden, learning to till soil, drinking beer with Fred or sitting with his grandmother Enid sipping tea while watching his father Quentin maintain the lawns, hedges and vegetable plots. By all accounts young Paul was never short of questions and it was to Enid and then his elders he constantly went, seeking answers. They have all passed on and now it is a new generation coming to Paul seeking old answers that might make sense in a somewhat confusing 21st century world.


Tūrama Retreat has been co-designed by Paul as his non-literal encyclopaedia of Te Arawa knowledge from the Ngāti Waoku perspective of the world. This is Paul's idea of paying it forward: where Anthropology meets being pre-Indigenous from the ground up.

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Mark, youngest son to Quentin and Hettie, here holding the mauri stone from Maketu.

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