Marae ‘for everybody’

Team work...Mataura’s Te Hono o te Ika a Maui ki Ngai Tahu marae executive committee chairman Cliff Waihape and marae development project manager James Rickard have been working closely together in a project to restore the wharenui at the complex. PHOTO:SANDY EGGLESTON

A shovel-ready grant is an unexpected bonus for Mataura’s Te Hono o te Ika a Maui ki Ngai Tahu marae development project.

The Ensign understands the grant has been approved, but details of the amount have not been released yet.

The marae is part way through an estimated $3.1million upgrade which started three and a-half years ago. The project involves restoration of the wharenui (meeting house) and wharekai (dining room).

It is expected the work will be completed in about two years.

The wharenui work is being overseen by project manager James Rickard, of Rotorua, and the wharekai by marae manager Maria Pera on behalf of the executive committee.

Mr Rickard is a master carver at the New Zealand Maori Arts and Crafts Institute.

Ms Pera said the grant would enable the work that did not need a building consent to be done quicker.

“The shovel-ready money is going to very good use,” Ms Pera said.

“All the work we get done makes it easier for the big build.”

Many people said the former dairy factory should be pulled down, but an engineer found the building was “solid as”.

“This is not domestically built, not commercially built, it is industrially built.”

It was also far cheaper to restore the building than demolish it and build another.

“You would never build a marae complex for $4million this size.”

When the work was completed, the marae would be one of a kind in Southland.

“It’s not just for Mataura, it’s not just for Gore.

“It’s for everybody in Southland and even Otago because this will be a great facility.”

Most of the work had been completed in the wharenui but tukutuku panels for the walls and heke (ceiling decoration) needed to be installed.

The Oranga Marae fund would help pay for the work to be done in the larger space of the wharekai, Ms Pera said.

“When it’s finished it should be one of the biggest dining rooms in the South Island.”

The work on the kitchen and smaller dining room was nearly finished.

However, there was “extensive” work that needed to be completed in the rest of the space.

GHD Consultants and the committee were working on the building plan and consents.

In the past year, the marae had been gazetted through the Maori Land Court as a Maori reservation.

“This is significant because the marae is now on Maori land.”Sports Shoesyeezy turtle dove description chart for girls Mid Light Smoke Grey