Lord Kitchener (1850-1916; KG, KP, GCB, OM, GCSI, GCMG, GCIE, PC) himself was a patron! This must have been circa 1910 when he went on a tour of Australia and New Zealand. Probably he took the train in a regal carriage — in those days it would have been more comfortable than a road trip — and when staying in the town perhaps he took a walk around it. He may have done this with Lord Plunket who was Governor of New Zealand from 1904 to 1910.
A short history was in the Kapiti News in 2016:
“The name Mahara, meaning remembrance, was chosen, possibly out of respect for victims of the Boer War, and was located on the main highway.
“Mahara House was built in 1902 by A.A. Brown for Hemi Matenga Waipunahau, brother of the paramount Chief Wi Parata Te Kakakura of the Ngati Awa and Ngati Toa.”