Significant funding for new marae facility a boost for Southland

Waihōpai Rūnaka is delighted by today’s announcement of a $9 million grant to upgrade its marae complex from the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment Hīkina Whakatutuki.

The money is from the $3 billion Government COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund.

Rūnaka Chair Cyril Gilroy says the project will ensure Murihiku Marae is fit for purpose and able to carry the Rūnaka into the future.

“This will be all the things a pā was, but in a modern context – fluid and adaptive to meet the needs of our community in this post-COVID world. The new mix of facilities will be suitable for a range of hui, social services, community and business activities, plus will provide improved functionality of the marae as a civil defence community hub.”

The Rūnaka has brought in specialist marae architects BOON to design the state-of-the-art facility. The Wharenui Te Raitauneke will remain but nearly all other buildings will be replaced by purpose-built, future-proofed, and environmentally sustainable structures in a unique design to reflect the history of Waihōpai.

Included in the scope of the design is a new wharekai, the replacement of a substandard administration and services hub, internal roading, parking and other infrastructure and landscaping, and the phased completion of onsite accommodation for kaumātua.

“This project expands on the Waihōpai and Murihiku Marae indigenous footprint, providing Murihiku whānau a standing place fit for the future. It strengthens intergenerational connections by acknowledging the whakapapa of our tūpuna, and works in alignment with the whenua with a strong whānau and environmental consciousness,” Mr Gilroy says.

“This is for our mokopuna and their mokopuna. It is about incorporating the past while our sights are set on the future, and we are realising our aspirations in the present. We are privileged to be a part of making our whānau moemoea a reality alongside our partners.”

Planning for the project has been ongoing for seven years. The total project cost is approximately $12.5 million with the Government funding making up the majority and a further $2.5 million from the Rūnaka and from Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu funding. A final $1 million is required, which will be sourced through other funding.

Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu has supported this Rūnaka project with funding from its Ngāi Tahu Marae Development Fund.

Kaiwhakahaere Lisa Tumahai says: “We are thrilled to support Waihōpai Rūnaka on this kaupapa. This is yet another example of how Rūnanga are working to ensure future stability in our regions. Waihōpai has been working tirelessly to build a marae that reflects the vision they hold for Murihiku, and this moves them much closer to making that a reality.”

The Rūnaka aims to let the main construction contract in August, and for the new facilities to be open by the end of 2022. The construction phase will create 33 temporary jobs and there will be eight permanent jobs once the marae is complete.

Ina, kai te manaaki te marae, ka haere mai te iwi! kai te manaaki te iwi, toitu te marae! Toitu te mana! Toitu te mauri!
If the marae is looked after, the people will come. If the people are looked after, the marae will remain, so too will the mana and mauri!