WHAKATAUKI — PROVERB
"He iti na Tuhoe e kata i te po"
Few by Tuhoe will make hades laugh.
The classic proverb "Nga Whare-Rau o Te Tahinga" literally means "The Hundred Houses of Te Tahinga".
This notable chief gave to his children the unique inheritance of equal individual rights to be chiefs. In this way, his mana passed on to his children. Hence, “The hundred houses of Te Tahinga”.
Te Tahinga is aptly depicted in the beautifully ornate carved Meeting House of Kahungunu in Nuhaka, with his favourite weapon "THE TATAHA" in his left hand. This has some significance. As a fighting chief, Te Tahinga learned to become ambidextrous as word came from a messenger of the fame of a left-handed taiaha warrior who was to declare war on the local tribesmen.
Te Tahinga took upon himself the training and discipline to become a champion with his left hand and taiaha. Imagine the surprise of the enemy when their two chiefs displayed their expertise in taiaha combat. It has been recorded that the enemy which outnumbered the locals, retreated in a hurry.
The Te Tahinga Meeting House was the one and only for Rakaipaka. However, it became sadly neglected after the erection in 1949 of the elaborate "Kahungunu Memorial Meeting House" as a memorial to the dead of the two World Wars.
At one time, the meeting house "Te Tahinga" built by Tame Puru Smith's family at the corner of Te Kauaha and Mataira Streets. It was later moved to stand near the above-mentioned tennis courts. Near "Te Tahinga" stood a walnut tree under which would be erected a tent where tupapaku lay and where the whanau pani stayed during tangihanga. The meeting house served as a center for the Hui Atawhai (Women's Relief Society Organisation) when the old chapel had to be pulled down. Some of the original whariki of the marae were worked on in the whare. When the school roll grew to the point where new rooms were required "Te Tahinga" also served as a temporary classroom for Standards Two and Three. It also served as a changing room for visiting tennis players.