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Marae upgrades boosting Maori employment

Six Wairarapa marae have finished various upgrades taking place over the last two years, resulting from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s Provincial Growth Fund.

The grant funding of up to $2.1m was administered by Kānoa – Regional Economic Development and Investment Unit – and went towards various renovations and refurbishments at the marae distributed all through Wairarapa.

Marae which received refurbishments were Motuwairaka marae, Tūmapuhia-ā-rangi marae, Papawai Pā, Hurunui-ō-Rangi marae, Te Ore Ore marae and Kohunui marae.

Projects were facilitated through He Kahui Wairarapa Trust, which confirmed all the designated $2.1 million was used.

Project manager Joe Nuku said the entire initiative was very successful, with about 30 local businesses jumping on board to get involved.

“We were very lucky to have these businesses that gave up mainstream business to support our renovations,” Nuku said.

There were minor hold-ups along the way due to supply chain issues caused by covid, but Nuku said everyone was happy with the various refurbishments each marae received.

Nuku said it was a massive achievement for the plumbers, electricians, builders and manufacturers who jumped on board and worked through two lockdowns.

“It was great to have 30 businesses supporting us, whom the majority were Maori, people of both genders and living locally – we were lucky to have good people who were passionate about the work,” Nuku said.

“It also provided the opportunity for people to reconnect to their marae.”

Agreeing with this sentiment was Chair of He Kahui Wairarapa, Rawiri Smith, who said the funding generated an employment boost for their community.

Smith said the significance of the renovations went beyond the structural improvements.

“The marae is about the piece of land,” Smith said.

“People were employed, and there was sometimes an education for people, they found out more about their marae in a wider context.”

Smith said many people went beyond the call of duty.

“The renovations went wider than just the building, for example, fencing, roading, parking – all of those are part of the consideration for the marae.”

Renovation works
for all marae

Motuwairaka Marae, based at Riversdale Beach, underwent major landscaping and fencing works.

Tūmapuhia-ā-rangi marae in Homewood had new heat pumps installed and refurbishment to the ablution blocks and whare.

East of Greytown, Papawai Pā had major renovation works, including new heat pumps, new lighting, the renovation of the whare kai and wharenui, the refurbishment of the ablution block, landscaping and tree removal.

Hurunui-ō-Rangi marae in Gladstone underwent refurbishment works on their current ablution block, whare kai, wharenui, drainage and landscaping, including a new footpath and ramps for wheelchair access.

Te Ore Ore Marae in Masterton had renovations to the wharenui, refurbishment to the whare kai and ablution block, drainage and plumbing works, additional water tanks, new roof, fencing and landscaping work.

The southernmost marae based in Pirinoa, Kohunui received installation of new water tanks and water system, renovation to all facilities, and refurbishment to both ablution blocks and landscaping.

Bella Cleary
Bella Cleary
Bella Cleary is a reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age, originally hailing from Wellington. She is interested in social issues and writes about the local arts and culture scene.

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