Makeover for marae
A group of construction students are putting their practical skills to use by renovating an east Auckland marae.
More than 20 first year New Zealand Management Academies (NZMA) students began restoration work at O¯ ra¯kei Marae last week.
O¯ ra¯kei Marae was built more than 40 years ago and the project, estimated to cost $150,000, will restore carvings in the wharenui (meeting house).
The students will also transform a dilapidated building, located opposite the wharenui, into an adult learning centre.
Due to its unsafe structure, the building had not been used for more than 10 years.
Work is scheduled to take more than 12 months.
Komiti Marae O¯ ra¯kei Trust chairperson Wyllis Maihi said turning the old villa into a fully-functioning learning space was a valuable opportunity.
‘‘The project will provide students with valuable hands-on experience,’’ Wyllis said.
The students work at the marae one day a week, to put into practice the skills they are learning as part of their certificate in building level four programme.
The programme sets them up to enter the construction industry as an apprentice or entry-level employee.
NZMA senior tutor Aaron Reid will supervise the students alongside O¯ ra¯kei Marae tradespeople, who will act as mentors.
The students were welcomed onto the marae with a traditional po¯whiri last Monday.
O¯ ra¯kei Marae manager Matt Maihi explained the significance of the 700-year-old site.
Student Nita Tuiaki, 24, said this was the first time he had visited a marae.
‘‘I am looking forward to understanding the Ma¯ori culture,’’ Tuiaki said.
Tuiaki said this experience would be the highlight of his course.
NZMA regional manager Monique Le Marque said it was important for the students to understand their connection to the past.
‘‘The historical and cultural knowledge which Nga¯ti Wha¯tua O¯ ra¯kei will impart will be a significant factor in these students becoming contributing citizens of New Zealand’s future workforce,’’ Le Marque said.
Fifteen of the students are recipients of the Maori and Pasifika Trades Training scholarship (MPTT).
The MMPT scholarships give Ma¯ori and Pasifika students the opportunity to gain a pre-trade qualification at no cost.