Papa Tate Pewhairangi recalls that in Tokomaru Bay, the whenua between Ngaiopapa and the mouth of the Mangahauini River has been home to many whare over the years—Ruatepupuke, purchased in the late 1800s and housed in the Field Museum, Chicago, is a beautiful example—through to and including the marae that bears the name of that whenua today: Pakirikiri.
Pakirikiri was one of the first modern carved houses on the East Coast after Te Poho-o-Rawiri in Gisborne. The house was brought about under the guidance of such elders and leaders as Wi Potae, Renata Tamepo and Ta Apirana Ngata. The gift of £1000 by Wi Potae at the outset was in fact used by Ta Apirana to establish the Rotorua School of Art in 1926 with Pine Taiapa and Hone Taiapa, the first head of the school, being some of the principle carvers of the whare whakairo.
The name of the wharenui, Te Hono ki Rarotonga, commemorates whakapapa connections across Te Moananui-a-Kiwa. The opening of Pakirikiri in 1934 was attended by rangatira from Rarotonga who bestowed their own name upon the wharenui: Te Auki Tonga.
In recent years the addition of a carved waharoa, Ngaropi, honours and remembers the remarkable number of extraordinary composers of which Tokomaru Bay can boast. These include Tuini Ngawai, Ngoi Pewhairangi and Ngaropi White whose name the waharoa bears.