HASTINGS, 13 July 2015 – They say it’s the people who make a place special, and that could not be truer for those close to Kahuranaki Marae. With the beloved marae’s recent renovation, the Hastings community experienced this more than ever as whanau from around the country returned home in full force to devote their time and lend a hand.
Since its inception in 2004 AIA Marae DIY has become a touchstone that connects iwi, hapu, whanau and communities around New Zealand as they take on the ambitious task of major building and repair work in just four days. As part of the 2015 series, which kicked off on TV3 on 4 July, the marae underwent a renovation which saw courtyards landscaped, fences re-aligned, important shelters replaced and the ablutions block painted.
With whanau from all over New Zealand, and a few even making the journey from Australia, hundreds of people were on hand to dedicate time and play their part. This is a testament to the marae and the love surrounding it, says Kahuranaki Marae chairman Robin Hape.
“It was a truly wonderful experience and something that brought many whanau together. Throughout the entire process, the vision of our marae was at the forefront of all decision-making. While we undertook a rebuild of our physical marae, we were also able to identify the depth of feeling within our hapu – jobs and tasks not specified were completed, our health and safety awareness improved and the depth and skill of trade experience within our whanau was recognized.
“We were fortunate to have a contingent of the New Zealand Army join us for the renovation, and that was a godsend. Their expertise, work ethic and manner set the example for our rangatahi and they should be recognized for the considerable effort they put in for us and our marae.
“We have just celebrated our marae’s centenary so it was very special to be able to help mark the auspicious occasion by bringing our whanau, hapu and local community together in such a unique way.”
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.
Staff from AIA New Zealand – a long-term partner of the show and primary sponsor of AIA Marae DIY since 2011 – were also on-site to lend a hand at Kahuranaki Marae. Over the years, more than 80 staff and their families have worked with the crew and local communities on marae renovations across the country.
AIA New Zealand CEO Natalie Cameron describes AIA Marae DIY as “a unique New Zealand initiative which is making a lasting contribution to communities.” As to the impact on staff, Cameron says, “Working on AIA Marae DIY is an experience our staff never forget. It’s inspiring and a privilege to be part of.”