Coun­cil com­mu­nity fund helps marae

Bay of Plenty Times - - LOCAL NEWS -

The trans­for­ma­tion of a sa­cred pa¯ site in Te Puke has been made pos­si­ble with the help of a com­mu­nity grant fund­ing Western Bay of Plenty Dis­trict Coun­cil.

Ngati Tuheke hapu¯ of Maka­hae Marae re­ceived $19,000 from the coun­cil’s Com­mu­nity Match­ing Fund in 2017 for an en­vi­ron­men­tal project to clear the Te Kahika Pa¯ site of in­va­sive weeds and re­store its “ko­rowai” (cloak) of na­tive trees and plants.

Last month, the project was com­pleted. It has now re­sulted in the erad­i­ca­tion of scrub and weeds and the plant­ing of 3700 trees and plants, in­clud­ing a new fruit or­chard and a manuka block to sup­port the marae’s bee­keep­ing and honey pro­duc­tion as­pi­ra­tions.

Project man­ager Elva Con­roy said the project was in­spi­ra­tional for the whole marae com­mu­nity and it had trans­formed the land­scape, in­clud­ing open­ing up lon­glost views.

“We had for­got­ten what our views of the Otawa and Pa­pamoa hills were. We even have a view out to Tuhua [Mayor] Is­land – it’s won­der­ful. We could not have done this with­out coun­cil’s match­ing fund,” she said.

Con­roy hoped it would build mo­men­tum for fu­ture en­vi­ron­men­tal projects.

The project aims to en­hance the eco­log­i­cal value of Te Kahika Pa¯ by plant­ing na­tive trees for bird habi­tat, en­cour­age the plant­ing of ron­goa¯ plants for heal­ing and ed­u­ca­tion, fruit trees for the marae and the on-site ko­hanga reo and to es­tab­lish a manuka block to pro­duce honey for the marae.

Coun­cil com­mu­nity en­gage­ment ad­viser Glenn Ayo said the project was a win­ner on many lev­els.

“Firstly, from a coun­cil per­spec­tive, it’s great to see the match­ing fund achiev­ing its goals, but it’s also good to see a win for the en­vi­ron­ment, a win with the in­volve­ment of our young peo­ple and a win for a lo­cal marae that’s look­ing fan­tas­tic now.

“I par­tic­u­larly ac­knowl­edge the huge work­load that Elva has put in to make this hap­pen. Ka mau te wehi.”

The Com­mu­nity Match­ing Fund of $100,000 is the coun­cil’s an­nual con­tri­bu­tion to groups that show out­stand­ing com­mit­ment to their com­mu­ni­ties and that can “match” the coun­cil’s cash grant – be it in vol­un­teer hours, cash in hand or sim­i­lar cri­te­ria. The fund is split into $40,000 for eco­log­i­cal projects such as the Maka­hae Marae project and $60,000 for all other com­mu­nity projects.

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