Meeting houses were once the heart of a village and still play an important role in the community.
Tupuna Whare of Whakarewarewa was situated in the centre of the village. While once used even to make decisions on where to hunt, it was and still is used for funerals and welcoming visitors.
A carving of the Tuhourangi chief, Wahiao, sat on top of the building while the carvings angled down represented his arms. The roof represented his backbone.
Meeting houses throughout the region followed a similar design.