Maungapohatu Marae in Te Urewera isn’t just beloved by Tuhoe; as a taonga for all New Zealanders, it rightly took centre stage during a four-day renovation in late March. The home of Rua Kenana, a notable visionary of the early 20th century, the marae is steeped in history and, in a remote part of the North Island, operates on generators and the ingenuity of its whanau. For all visiting participants in the renovation, it is a privilege to be invited on to the marae.
The long-running and award-winning series AIA Marae DIY, screening this year on TV3, is showcasing Maungapohatu Marae as a crew of volunteers tackles an addition to the wharekai, the waterproofing of the mattress room, construction of manuhiri / tangata whenua shelters and waharoa. The renovation took place from 26 to 29 March.
The team from AIA Marae DIY producer Screentime includes many who have led previous marae renovations, including presenters Te Ori Paki and Ria Hall, landscaper David Clayton-Greene and builder Harry Anneff.
Also in attendance to lend a hand was a team from AIA New Zealand. A long-term partner and the show’s primary sponsor, staff from AIA, including CEO Wayne Besant, have worked with the crew and local communities on marae renovations across the country for many years.
Mr Besant says, “We are very proud to be continuing our sponsorship of AIA Marae DIY this year and would like to thank the Te Urewera community and the whanau of Maungapohatu Marae for welcoming and hosting all of us involved with the programme.
“Our work as a company involves supporting and protecting whanau, and as a team we remain committed to doing our best for the many marae throughout New Zealand. The contribution that Screentime and TV3 are making to communities through AIA Marae DIY will last for generations, and it is a privilege to play our part.”