28 May 2021

NATI LINK caught up with young Ngati Porou mum Rawinia Parata, a multi-tasking extraordinaire juggling a number of community based projects. Rawinia is Project Managing the Uepohatu and Whakarua Park renovations. She is also coordinating the Covid 19 Vaccination comms for Toitu Tairawhiti and she is organising the second Ngati Porou Reo Symposium. Then it's home to Hinemaia, Te Ati Manuka and Te Ana Whakairo. We find out what drives her and the work she does servicing her people.

How long has the project taken?

I’ve been on the project team since 2018. Before me, Manu Caddie was the project lead. Through it all Papa Dave Goldsmith has been our chairperson.

When we started the renovations at Whakarua it was very clear that as a board, we had aspirations beyond her restorations, we wanted a community sporting hub.

We’ve had many ups and downs, successes and learnings through this process but every day we get closer to achieving the vision, not just for Whakarua, but for all descendants of Ngati Porou.

What has been some of the work done?

In the last few months we received support from Te Runanganui o Ngati Porou via the Provincial Growth Fund to create tar sealed car parks and a beautiful fence that adorns the perimeter of the complex and the main field.

That mahi along with the investment in the renovations at Whakarua has made a huge impact in the way in which we as a people appreciate our marae and facilities. How we care for them goes a long way in helping everybody to see the vision for our future.

Who are some of the key people involved in the project?

Lorne Boyce Goldsmith led the physical work around the renovations.

Our beautiful ope of weavers, led by Aunty Raiha Pokai, have restored, cleaned and revived all the tukutuku panels in Uepohatu.

The Whakarua Park Board, Trust Tairawhiti, J.N. Williams Memorial Trust, the Community Facilities Team at GDC and the Provincial Growth Fund.

The Hall was built originally as a memorial to the two great wars. Why and how is that relevant to Ngati Porou today?

We recently celebrated ANZAC day to remember their sacrifices which have given us our freedom. Here in Ngati Porou we acknowledge, respect and honor that sacrifice as being just as important now as it was then.

It is our collective responsibility to care for Whakarua as a memorial to the 28 Maori Battalion as descendants of those tipuna that went to war.

During Queens Birthday Weekend we are having the rededication of Uepohatu as a reflection of our commitment to that Kaupapa