November 14, 2023
Kaeo opens space age marae
Whangaroa has celebrated a new marae to bring the far north community into the space age.
The marae, known as Matangirau or Karangahape for the past century, was restored to its old name Te Touwai at a dawn ceremony on Saturday.
Marae chair Roger Kingi says the genesis for the rebuild was a meeting in Papakura 50 years ago, but the project gathered momentum when he came on board as a trustee in 2006.
The retired builder says a series of wananga conducted through Te Wananga o Awanuiarangi unearthed stories, waiata, whakapapa and tikanga the people wanted to embed in the marae, and led to a half-million dollar boost in fundraising that allowed the trustees to engage architect Kevin Brewer and set the build in train.
“I’ve seen so many marae unfinished and most of them had engaged their own whanaunga to build them, and that’s ok, I don’t have a problem with that, We weren’t going to do that, We were going to put it out to tender – they would run the whole show. We were going to end up with a finished product that would move them into the space age – everything modern, eh,” Mr Kingi says.