Ruatepupuke II

Tokomaru Bay, New Zealand

   An encounter held at Ruatepupuke II in 2010

Photo courtesy: José Moré, Chicago News Cooperative
As part of its extensive Pacific Islands anthropological collections, The Field Museum in Chicago is privileged to care for a complete 19th century Maori meeting house (wharenui), the only one of its kind in the Americas.

This remarkable structure, traditionally named Ruatepupuke II, has a rich heritage, and has been the focus of extensive cultural exchanges between the Museum and the community of Tokomaru Bay, New Zealand, where it was built and first opened in 1881.

As one gratifying outcome of the lengthy partnership between The Field Museum and the people of Tokomaru Bay, this wharenui also serves as a national “flag ship” for many throughout Aotearoa New Zealand, Maori and pakeha (non-Maori) alike — both as a striking heritage symbol in a distant and foreign land, and also as an innovative urban marae (gathering place) for communicating Maori values and sensibilities overseas in an vibrant multicultural setting.