Marae opens its doors
Horouta Marae threw open its doors, and its heart, to the people of Kokiri Cres and Warspite Ave during the siege.
Pania Houkamau-Ngaheu was at work when she got a phone call from Mike Tahere.
‘‘Papa Mike asked me to open the marae,’’ she said. ‘‘I did it right away.’’
Tahere, the iwi liaison officer for New Zealand Police, and Aunty Heni of the Maori wardens, scoured the streets of Porirua searching for people who needed somewhere to go.
Houkamau-Ngaheu was waiting at the marae to welcome the vans full of people driven there by the wardens.
‘‘I said, ‘Welcome home, this is your marae’.’’
More than 80 people dined on mashed potato, mince and pumpkin for dinner.
‘‘Warmtummies mean warm hearts.’’
More than 35 people slept in the wharenui (sleeping house) on Friday night.
Aunty Heni said the Porirua community shared so much aroha (love).
‘‘People have been bringing food, toilet paper and even a brand new TV,’’ she said. ‘‘Takapuwahia marae sent us two whole muttons.’’
By lunchtime 300 people had been served ameal at the marae.