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- Whare -

A Hut in the Bush


" The Whare did not differ greatly in shape from a European house; it was rectangular, had a window and a door and even a verandah in some cases, but the materials were not as permanent. The huts were small, the walls low, the doorways low & the windows small, but except in scale, they resembled colonial houses. It was merely necessary to increase the scale to make them suitable for those colonists without tents or other temporary accommodation. One major point of difference was the absence of chimneys in the whare. They did have hearths in the middle of the floor, but without exit for the smoke. They were not partitioned into rooms "

Excerpt from Nelson Historical Society Journal (1958)


Photo Photo

- Nikau Whare -

" Leaves were used as thatching for the roof and walls of the whare. A whare built with a manuka stick framework and nikau thatching is supposedly as strong and watertight as if made of iron. Woven nikau palm fronds form the first layer of the thatching. More nikau fronds are layered over the woven panels then external ridge poles are lashed over the top to hold them in place "

Excerpt from the Mangatowai Project

- The Family Whare -

" A rustic table was built out of some slabs that Eric had sent up from the saw-pit at Sawyer's Bay, and fashioned into a very serviceable, if rough, piece of furniture. In the fireplace a bright fire was heating a large camp-oven, over the lid of which was laid a quantity of hot cinders, baking the loaf of bread within. To prevent their feet from becoming wet, or cutting up into mud or puddle the ground adjacent to the door of the whare, large quantities of brushwood had been securely tied with split native vines into mats about three inches thick and laid all round and for some yards away from the entrance.

In the fireplace a bright fire
was heating a large camp-oven

After the ordinary civilities of the day and partaking of a cup of tea and some home-made cake which the good woman had baked on the night of her landing - her first piece of cooking in the whare was declared by all to have been a splendid evidence of her skill she said: "Now, gentlemen, my new home is open for your Inspection, if you would like to see what Hugh has done for me?"

In place of carpets the damp earthen floors were covered with mats of rushes laced together with flax; for chairs fixed benches were made by driving sticks into the floor, on top of these were placed strong rails crossed with battens, over which was again laid, as cushions, a thick layer of rushes laced down tightly to the seats. The beds were made in the same manner, but on top of the rushes was laid a quantity of well dried fern covered with coarse sacking; upon this was laid the mattress and other bedding "

Excerpt from "The Counterfeit Seal: A Tale of Otago's First Settlers"