This blog has some pictures and info about Pukawa. Thanks Hone for taking the pictures! If you want to go in order, scroll to the bottom and make your way up to the top.
In the mid 1800's Europeans started to settle in New Zealand, confiscating Maori land. In an effort to gain legitimacy as a government and to retain their land, the Maori chiefs came together to establish a Maori monarcy. Unlike Native Americans, Maori people all share the same language making it easier for them to unite. In 1866 (150 years ago), the counsel of chiefs met in Pukawa, on the shores of Lake Taupo, and selected Potatau Te Wherowhero to be king.
The Tainui tribe is one of the largest Maori tribes and most influential Maori tribes both because the royal line is Tainui, and because they have access to wealth following the 1995 Waikato Land Settlement. Tainui has strong ties with Tuwharetoa, the Maori tribe that lives in the Pukawa region. In November of 2006, Tainui and Tuwharetoa came together to celebrate the 150 anniversary of the establishment of the Maori monarchy. This celebration was marked by the opening of a new marae (meeting house) at Pukawa. It is a Tuwharetoa Marae, but Tainui were given the honor of opening the meeting house as a gesture of friendship between the tribes, and as a way of expressing thanks for the support that Tainui provided during the construction of the Marae.
As part of the ceremony, Tainui transported 3 waka (canoes) from Ngaruawahia to Pukawa. Under careful supervision, the waka (weighing about 1 tonne each) were loaded onto trucks using cranes and driven to the lake for the ceremony.