Tiwai Amoamo

Te Whakatōhea

Ngāti Rua

1910 - 1991

Tiwai Amoamo was born at ‘Tauremu’ in Waiaua, Ōpōtiki, and was educated at Ōmarumutu Native School. After leaving school he worked with his father on the family farm and in 1935 married Te Urututu Punua Gage and continued farming at Orangipakakino, Rahui. Amoamo became a kaumatua of the Ōmarumutu Marae and kaumatua of Whakatōhea. He was a member of the Whakatōhea Trust Board and a member of land trusts pertaining to Whakatōhea including the Whakapaupakihi Land Trust. Amoamo was a member of the Ringatu Church. When it was decided to replace the deteriorating wooden foundations of the Tūtāmure Meeting House and to set the house on new concrete post foundations Ngāti Rua elders decided to record the event and invited Roger Neich to Ōmarumutu in May 1977. The essay “The Complementarity of History and Art in Tūtāmure Meeting-House, Ōmarumutu Marae, Ōpōtiki” was published as a result of this meeting.

Biographical sources

  • Correspondence and phone calls with Te Riaki Amoamo on 6, 14, 17 Nov. 1995, 10 July 1997, and 18 Mar. 2004.
  • Journal of the Polynesian Society 93.1 (Mar. 1984): 20-37.


  • “The Complementarity of History and Art in Tūtāmure Meeting-House, Ōmarumutu Marae, Ōpōtiki.” Tiwai Amoamo, Tuhi Tūpene and Roger Neich. Journal of the Polynesian Society 93.1 (Mar. 1984): 5-37.
  • This essay on the Tūtāmure Meeting House, is divided into two parts. The first part, entitled ‘The History of Tūtāmure Meeting-House, Ømarumutu’, was recounted to Neich by Ngāti Rua elders, Tiwai Amoamo and Tuhi Tūpene. It is a detailed account of the meeting house which was opened in March 1901 and built by Te Awanui Åporotanga, Tūpara, Waiapu Te Tawhiro, Te Ua O Te Rangi Oakes, Raimona Pāpuni, Matiu Repanga, Mōrehu Heremia, Pōnaho Porikapa, Tāuha Nikora and others of Ngāti Rua. A significant feature of Tūtāmure is its series of figurative paintings which Amoamo and Tūpene describe in detail, observing that they ‘explain the historical circumstances and events relating to the building of Tūtāmure.’ The article is accompanied by a series of photographs of the rafter paintings. The second part of the paper, written by Roger Neich and entitled ‘Discussion’, is a discourse on the role and recognition of folk history with specific reference to the Tūtāmure Meeting House.