News from home / Marae
Written by:
30 Jun 2013

If you were driving up the Coast over Easter you may have noticed many of our marae almost filled to capacity with whanau arriving home for the long holiday break.

The sight of cars sprawling out of their designated car-parking areas onto the road-side, weary travellers unpacking their possessions, and children playing infront of the marae atea provide a healthy indication marae within Ngati Porou continue to be well utilised and provide a focal point for many whanau gatherings.

However after these hui are finished, and the last of the visitors have gone home it is usually left to a small cohort of hau kainga (home people) to ensure that these communal cultural and civic facilities are maintained and functioning for the next unveiling, whanau reunion or hapu hui.

Electricity bills need to be paid, cutlery and crockery need to be replaced, fund-raising for a new ablution block or gas steamer need to continue ...the list could go on to infinity.

A Marae and Community Funding Expo was held at Rauru marae in Ruatoria on March 20th, as part of a collaborative effort by Te Runanganui o Ngati Porou and other organisations (including Department of Internal Affairs, Maori Land Court and TPK) to support our marae communities.

This event acknowledged the mahi done behind the scenes by marae trustees, marae committee members and the local community by providing information and advice relevant to the ongoing business of keeping a marae up and running.

Approximately 100 people attended the hui over the course of the day, which began with a presentation from Te Runanganui o Ngati Porou about their marae grant programme, and other initiatives focused on the marae community.

This was followed by a thought provoking korero by the NZ Fire Service about options for fire sprinkler systems and safety plans for marae. Presentations were also made by a variety of local and national funding agencies which included, the Williams Family Trust, Gisborne District Council, amongst others.

Among those who attended the expo was Ned Tibble, the Chairman of the Rahui marae committee. He says he found the hui to be informative, and was interested in learning more about marae sprinkler systems and marae insurance. “I’m glad I came because I got to listen to experts on both those kaupapa. I think these kinds of hui should be held annually.”

Hineawe Groube, a trustee for Putanga marae says she was interested in finding resources for her marae. “I’ve come to listen to hear what funding initiatives are available. Putanga is not fully completed yet, and needs some help. I think the mainissue for our marae is restoration. Restoration in terms of restoring our people together. We need to create a pathway to co-operate and work together as a whanau. And we must continue to embrace te taha wairua me nga akonga o to tatou tipuna. Remembering the mahi of those who have supported our marae in the past.”

Roger Haerewa, a trustee of Awatere marae says he wanted to find out about avenues for funding for his marae. Another kaupapa he was interested in finding out more about was marae insurance. “Insurance is very big issue for us."

"We got a bill for $15.5 K and then after we had some discussions with our insurance company and it got taken down to $8K. If we had sprinklers installed, I think it would bring it down a bit more. I think we would support the Runanganui’s initiative for all marae to work as a collective under a marae insurance scheme.”

Halfway through the expo hui participants were invited to assemble in front of the wharenui, Rauru-nui-a- Toi to watch a demonstration of the marae’s fire sprinkler system which had been installed last year by Gisborne plumber Ian Donaldson. Rauru marae chairman, Rawiri Haerewa says people were impressed with how much water was dispersed during the short demonstration.

“I think what the expo also highlighted for many was that insurance policies for marae are currently inadequate and are not meeting our needs. Rauru cancelled our insurance policy because we could not afford it, but we will see what happens with the collective marae insurance idea. Our taonga cannot be replaced, so we had to take some measures with our sprinkler system to try and cover our bases, and minimize the risk of fire to help preserve them.”

At the end of the hui participants were invited to complete an evaluation form about the expo, and be in the draw to win a prize for their marae. Sixty forms were submitted and the feedback provided informative data. Representatives from 35 marae attended the expo, and 95% believed the expo met or exceeded their expectations. The majority of responses also indicated they were in favour of a collective insurance scheme, and over half replied they believed their marae did not have adequate fire protection.

Dick Turei from Rangitukia was the lucky recipient of the draw, and a koha of $250 was donated by Te Runanganui o Ngati Porou to Karuwai marae, of which Dick is Chairman. He says he went away from the hui concerned about the limited firesafety initiatives his marae has in place.

“Our whare tipuna, Karuwai, along with our wharekai, Mahiti, are probably over 100 years old and showing signs of their age. I have invited the Fire service to address the whanau at our coming Hui-a-tau and I hope we get that opportunity.” He also says he went away from the hui thinking about the issues for building projects. “Some of the issues that arise are sentimental/historical attachment, the viability of repairing, the cost of a new building and safety of all who use our marae. Also getting agreement by everybody.”

An information resource pack including presentations from the expo will be sent to each marae. If you would like a copy of this resource pack sent to you please email

For more information about Marae Tautoko click here.

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