Marae bounces back

Ashes were all that re­mained of Maori carv­ings and ir­re­place­able pho­to­graphs, when Ta­matea Pokai Whenua wharenui in Man­gakino was de­lib­er­ately set alight in 2007. Re­turn­ing to the marae three years later Florence Kerr finds a new marae stand­ing on the sho

South Waikato News - - NEWS -

IN 2007 Pouakani Marae was de­stroyed by ar­son. When I vis­ited the site re­cently a new marae was al­most fin­ished.

Pouakani Marae Trust chair­man Whitu Ka­rauna and trustee trea­surer Me­mory Te Whaiti guide me through the new com­plex.

We stop at the doors of the kau­matua whare, which will be used for kau­matua to quench their thirst and have a breather while con­duct­ing an­cient rit­u­als on the paepae.

The kau­matua whare will be adorned with the mahau, a carv­ing which was able to be saved and re­stored from the fire.

‘‘A num­ber of taonga that have been able to be re­stored will be put in this whare, we want to in­cor­po­rate some of our old taonga,’’ Ms Te Whaiti said.

The kau­matua whare which stands next to Ta­matea Pokai Whenua and is a stone’s throw away from the wharekai have all been fit­ted with sprin­klers.

Mr Ka­rauna said the plan­ning and build­ing of the whare was done with pre­ci­sion to de­tail, thanks to marae trustee and project man­ager Ver­non Te Whaiti.

‘‘He has done a won­der­ful job in lead­ing us through this project. . . we scrimped and saved where we could and de­signed our marae to work with our whenua by putting so­lar pan­els in to heat our wa­ter, we also plan to erect rain wa­ter bar­rels and put in a marae veg­etable gar­den to nour­ish our whanau.’’

The build which has come in just over the $2 mil­lion mark; how­ever, money is still needed to fin­ish the carv­ings for Ta­matea Pokai Whenua.

‘‘We are look­ing at the $200,000 mark to com­plete the carv­ings and toko toko pan­els as well as the in­stal­la­tion of these taonga. That is all that is left to do. Then we can open our marae doors to the world.’’

The pou are be­ing carved by Ngati Kahun­gungu to­hunga whakairo Takiri­rangi Smith.

‘‘Our hui are about build­ing our pro­file, we look at ways to make Man­gakino a tourist des­ti­na­tion, it’s about draw­ing peo­ple to the town and util­is­ing our marae, by do­ing this the marae will pay for it­self in a sense.’’

One of our draw­cards is the lake and we are util­is­ing that as­pect by hold­ing waka ama re­gatta; the marae can be used as ac­com­mo­da­tion, we have in­stalled wash­ing ma­chines for our manuhiri and our wharekai can seat 300 so we have the fa­cil­i­ties here to ac­com­mo­date a lot of peo­ple.

‘‘We have a waka ama re­gatta on De­cem­ber 11 so we may look at do­ing some­thing then.

Busi­ness op­por­tu­ni­ties are only one as­pect of this well formed plan, the Pouakani whanau are look­ing at ways to coun­ter­act the im­pend­ing fund­ing short­age their paepae will face in a few years.

‘‘We are in dis­cus­sions about hold­ing tikanga and reo classes for our ran­gatahi at the marae.

Our ko­hanga is sup­ported by our marae whanau as well as reo learn­ers at school, it would be good for our ran­gatahi to learn about our kawa (pro­to­cols) and tikanga on our marae.’’ Mr Ka­rauna said they will also look at im­prov­ing the health of whanau.

‘‘We are think­ing of set­ting up health pro­grammes for our kau­matua at the marae, hav­ing a fa­mil­iar set­ting would put a lot of our kau­matua at ease.’’

Pouakani Marae Trustees and the wider com­mu­nity of Man­gakino have been through ad­ver­sity and back but ‘‘hard work and whanau sup­port’’ have turned neg­a­tives into pos­i­tives.

Ev­ery­one in our group has gone above and be­yond and it has all been worth it.

These beau­ti­ful whare are tes­ta­ment to our project man­ager Ver­non and our whanau who have all pitched in where they could.’’

Those want­ing to do­nate to­wards Pouakani Marae re­build can do so by con­tact­ing Ms Te Whaiti on 07 882 8170. Keep up to date on the marae’s progress on the Pouakani Marae Face­book page.

STAND­ING TALL: Pouakani Marae Trust chair­per­son Whitu Ka­rauna stands out­side the newly built Pouakani Marae com­plex.

HARD WORK: Marae project man­ager Ver­non Te Whaiti as­sists Des­mond Stain­ton and Bill Luyten as they fab­ri­cate the tahuhu, the panel that runs the length of the marae ceil­ing.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.