As the busiest marae in the Hauraki Plains, Te Pai o Hauraki knows the importance of having warm, clean and tidy facilities to extend manaakitanga and keep whānau and manuhiri comfortable and safe.
Thousands of people attend the marae each year, for hui, tangi and unveilings, school visits and wānanga, weddings, birthday parties and other celebrations for significant occasions. The marae is available year-round for iwi and community use, with weekends in particular booked up for months in advance for cultural, educational and recreational events.
“It’s busy,” says marae representative Larn Wilkinson, “But worth it. We have the facilities to host large crowds, and there’s always something going on. It puts our marae at the heart of the community, which is where it belongs. Our people will travel back to the marae from as far afield as the USA.”
A 2012 marae feasibility study generated a daunting programme of upgrades needed to keep the marae functioning at the level required. Trustees have made good progress, however, and the renovations are already entering their fourth stage.
Safety was an early priority, with ramps, walkways and outdoor areas made accessible for the marae’s growing numbers of kaumātua. Next up, was the marae kitchen, which has received a significant upgrade to meet the latest health and safety standards.
“As a marae, kai plays a large part in out tikanga-based practices, and the new kitchen allows us to fully care for our visiting manuhiri and hau kainga who use our facilities,” says Larn.
The trustees have now set their sights on the dining room, marae carpark and manuhiri toilets.
“After that, we hope to be maintenance free for at least 40 years,” says Larn.
Trust Waikato applauds Te Pai o Hauraki Marae’s efforts to provide for its people and the Paeroa community, and gave a $15,000 donation towards the kitchen upgrade in 2015/2016.