They say it’s the people who make a place special, and that could not be truer for those close to Maungapohatu Marae. With the marae’s recent renovation, Te Urewera’s community experienced this more than ever as whanau from around the country and across the Tasman 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, Maungapohatu Marae undertook six small projects including a kitchen upgrade and a wharenui renovation.
With whanau, hapu and residents from the local area returning from around New Zealand to pitch in, the renovation fostered a great sense of pride and mana amongst the hapu whanau, says marae coordinator chairperson Richard Tumarae.
“It was wonderful to see the great spirit of our people shine throughout this meaningful renovation process. With more than 185 people rolling up their sleeves and mucking in each day, the four-day process was a wonderful and truly valuable experience. Not only did hapu and whanau take part, but residents from around the area dropped what they were doing and made the effort to come and help. We will cherish that forever.
“Our marae has only just latched onto running water, which really helped us to achieve what we wanted with the DIY. It went a long way in helping us renovate the kitchen area, the entranceway, the visitors’ shelter, our mattress house and our wharenui. It was humbling to use locally milled wood for our wharenui and locally sourced fauna for our marae’s exterior. We believe it represents the importance and value we place on our community and surroundings.”
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 Maungapohatu 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.”