Matarena Marjorie Rau-Kupa MBE
(nee Raumati) 1913-2010

Puke Ariki Library and Museum tribute to Matarena, accompanying her original portrait which hangs inside the Library building.

Matarena Raumati Rau Kupa (Aunty Marj) in the Brooklands Bush, New Plymouth, Taranaki. photo portrait by Margaret Bake (1981)

Known to the nation as 'Aunty Marj', Matarena was the first born of 18 children to Parehaereone and Haamiora Raumati. She was lovingly nurtured, educated and supported by her elders to be a leader of her family and wider community of Taranaki.

In 1961 she began her involvement with the Taranaki Museum and gave her knowledge freely to assist staff to better understand Taranaki from a Māori worldview.

In the early 1990s she became the kuia and cultural advice expert to support and mentor the work of staff of the New Plymouth District Library. She assisted the library with many initiatives including hosting and attending New Zealand Library Association Conferences, the Children's Library activities, and gave countless hours of cultural guidance and advice to library sector staff both locally and nationally.

Matarena was a founding member of the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery and helped establish Te Papa Tongarewa Museum of New Zealand. Her undying support of the Taranaki Museum and New Plymouth District Library was also instrumental in bringing together iwi of Taranaki to support the development of Puke Ariki.

Matarena created a legacy of mentorship in Taranaki and her family and friends continue to support Puke Ariki. Matarena conducted all of her work with grace and intelligence. Her contribution to the wider development of the library and museum sector has helped ensure the participation of tangata whenua and the inclusion of Māori cultural values at all levels.

— Puke Ariki / New Plymouth Library


Kuia Matarena Rau Kupa at Royal Opening of Renovated New Zealand Parliament buildings - November 1995

Taranaki 'lost a great leader and mentor"

Kuia Matarena Rau-Kupa Obituary in the Taranaki Daily News 1st January 2011


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