March 28, 2019
Kick start to complete Mataura marae
Mataura is on track to complete its marae.
Work started in the 1980s when the Southland town had a freezing works and a large active Māori community, but for various reasons progress faltered.
Helen Leahy from South Island whānau ora commissioning agency Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu says new life has been breathed into the marae and the supporting community.
A team from the New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute in Rotorua led by James Rickard had designed and carved panels for the wharenui, and work is now proceeding on finishing and upgrading other marae buildings.
The wharekai in a converted dairy factory needs a new roof as well as some structural work.
Te Pūtahitanga has also supported a māra kai or community vegetable garden for the marae.
Ms Leahy says it can be hard for rural communities to raise the large amount of funds for such a major project, but the whānau are pitching in with housie, hāngi fundraisers and a speed shearing competition.
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