Maoridom meet to celebrate marae’s rebirth
Horouta ki Poneke Marae’s grand opening is this weekend, and the public is invited to see the massive transformation that has taken place.
The Aotea marae will host dignitaries including Maori king Tuheitia Paki alongside thousands of expected visitors.
Horouta’s meeting house or wharenui will be blessed and opened for use after 20 years of sitting shuttered because of lack of funds.
Marae manager Pania Houkamau-Ngaheu has spent the past three years driving the decoration of the wharenui on the smell of an oily rag, and has also revamped the marae grounds and the wharekai or dining hall.
Mrs Houkamau-Ngaheu’s energy was stretched to the limit last week as she oversaw the finishing touches.
‘‘It’s 24/7 in here. I’m going to feel happiness and relief when it’s done,’’ she said.
Proceedings will kick off on Saturday, December 7, at 4am, because the wharenui must be blessed before dawn.
The ceremony will be officiated by bishop Muru Walters.
On Saturday morning, some of the best genealogical oratory that visitors were likely to have heard would feature, Mrs HoukamauNgaheu said.
Cultural performances from kapa-haka to crumping would be staged in the afternoon and all day on Sunday.
Once opened, Horouta would become a resource for anybody wishing to learn more about Maoridom, she said.
‘‘We can be a part of promoting our cultural uniqueness. We can show all our visitors to Porirua what we have to offer as Maori.’’
Busy time: Pania HoukamauNgaheu has been working long hours in preparation for the marae opening.