New dawn for new marae
After five years of fundraising and shedding blood, sweat and tears, the people of Mangakino now have a place to call home.
Pouakani Marae, particularly the Tamateapokai Whenua wharenui, was a focal point for locals where they mourned their dead, celebrated their accomplishments and showcased their beautiful taonga. But on May 29, 2007 the people of Mangakino were woken by fire sirens, their marae in ashes and irreplaceable taonga gone forever in a brazen attack for which no-one has been brought to justice.
Last Saturday was a day of celebration for the Pouakani Marae Committee, people of Mangakino and Ngati Kahungunu. As the new dawn broke, a new era for the people of Mangakino began. Their marae has been raised from the ashes and new memories can now be made.
The people of Mangakino took their places, whether it was on the paepae, setting up the marae, working in the kitchen or singing a few songs for the visitors. The Pouakani whanau ensured those who came from near or afar were well fed and entertained. As they welcomed close to 1000 people who gathered to celebrate their success, they weren’t about to let anyone know that the majority of them had only five hours’ sleep during the week leading up to the grand opening.
Marae committee chairman Whitu Karauna told a full house on Saturday that the last minute touches were being added right up until the first karanga went out.
‘‘Our last pou in the marae went up at 4.15am this morning,’’ Mr Karauna said.
He thanked the marae committee, sponsors, everyone that made the marae possible.
‘‘I wish to acknowledge those that have worked on our marae. The future of our marae is to sustain and maintain it and keep it going for future generations. Sure, there were disagreements during this process but we got there and I am very proud of the work we have all done,’’ Mr Karauna said. The locals entertained guests with popular Maori waiata, and Uncle Wogg sang a few Elvis favorites, while MC New Zealand actor and Mangakino old boy Hori Ahipene had the crowd in stitches. As the day wound up and visitors began their journey home, the people of Mangakino are happy they have their marae back, a place where they can stand strong, a place where the people of Mangakino can call home.
Like the old Maori proverb, Ka mate te kainga tahi, ka ora te kainga rua – when one house dies, a second lives.
HOME: The new wharenui.
NEW BEGINNING: Hundreds gathered for the blessing of Pouakani Marae at dawn on Saturday.