The History of Tapu Te Ranga Marae is about the passion of many good people since 1974. The Tupuna Whare Pare Hinetai No Waitaha was built by young unemployed maori - some of them homeless. They needed to have a place to make a stand. It has been said she is the largest and highest wooden house built of recycled materials on wooden piles anywhere on earth.
It was designed by Bruce Stewart - all in his head because he canŐt draw. Without formal training, he is a product of the kiwi 'do-it yourself' stuff. He had been influenced by architecture without architects - peasants building from local materials or what ever they could lay their hands onÉcombined with the principal of the theory of alchemy (making something from nothing) It grew like Topsy
Bruce could see the local material was from the demolition of much of Wellington. He together with the young people grabbed the bits, pulled out the nails and straightened them to use again. Doors, windows and timber, much of it heart native were being pulverized and thrown into the tip. Car cases from Todd Motors were also used once and taken to the tip. They were from trees of the tropical rain forest - hardwoods. Bruce got permission to use them. He believes building, using recycled material is spiritually in tune and uplifting.
The late Stan Hyde, demolition contractor, donated considerable fittings to The Marae as did many of the people of Wellington.
The 'non-traditionalness' of design of Tapu Te Ranga has often been mentioned. Bruce found there were many Whare of non-traditional design, some of them being Rua Kenana's Beehive in The Urawera and Potatau Te Whero Whero's whare at Te Awamutu.
The design shape is that of a cluster of whare grouped together representing The Mother and her children. Because it was built of recycled materials it was slow going - it has taken thirty two years.
Pare Hinetai No Waitaha is 26.5 meters high…she is on ten levels…she is 27,000 square feet.