Kia ora Takahanga Marae

Written By: - Date published: 9:16 am, November 16th, 2016 - 16 comments
Categories: disaster - Tags: , ,


I can recall at University learning in New Zealand history about the old thought that an apparent decay in Maori society was terminal and that the task of Pakeha was to “smooth the pillow of the dying race“.

Thankfully the view was wrong, and thanks in no small part to the vibrancy of the culture and the determination of Maori the indigenous culture of Aotearoa New Zealand is doing better and better.

A slow fusion of the cultures is becoming apparent with more and more Maori words and phrases entering common usage and many forms of art displaying a proud acknowledgement of the country’s indigenous culture. And Maori institutions are becoming more and more important.

One of them is the Marae. At a personal level I have a to do with the Hoani Waititi Marae. The Marae’s work in the areas of youth justice and restorative justice are acclaimed and it provides an important social hub for West Auckland.

A friend of mine, an Irish Catholic lawyer born in New York, who lived in New Zealand for many decades, died recently. At his request the Hoani Waititi Marae trustees let his body lay on the Marae so that friends and acquaintances could pay their respects. If and when I shuffle off this mortal coil I would like to do the same.

A Marae is a very respectful supportive place where people are welcome and much good is achieved.

There are a couple of recent public examples where different Marae have performed extraordinary feats of kindness. The first was at Te Puea Marae in Mangere whose extraordinary efforts to house and look after South Auckland’s homeless showed how hapless the Government response to the crisis was. The outpouring of public support for that Marae really made me proud of my fellow Aucklanders.

The most recent is the effort of Takahanga Marae who in the midst of the crisis caused by the Kaikoura Earthquake has also thrown its doors open to the public.

From Waatea News:

Takahanga Marae in Kaikoura has become a civil defence and relief centre as the community copes with the after-effects of the 7.5 magnitude earthquake under nearby Hanmer Springs early yesterday morning.

The town is cut off from the north and the south with bridges broken and slips blocking roads.

Ngai Tahu kaiwhakahaere Sir Mark Solomon, who represents the Kaikoura runaka, says the marae threw open its doors within an hour of the first quake just after midnight.

Ngai Tahu Runanga staff got to the town yesterday afternoon by helicopter and were able to start assessing what the marae needs.

“It’s become a welfare centre so they’ve had over 500 people so far. We have just got the power back on at the marae but we’ve got gas cooking. There is still no sewerage or water yet butI think they will get on top of that in the next couple of days but the roads will be a different thing,” he says.

Ngaī Tahu has also distributed satellite phones through the area and provided crayfish to the victims.  From Maori Television:

Ngaī Tahu Chairman Mark Solomon told Te Kāea today, “We’ve sent satellite phones through and Takahanga Marae is operating as a Civil Defence welfare centre. Our fishing company up there emptied all of its stalls out and I think everyone had a good feed of crayfish.”

More than a thousand earthquake victims including locals and tourist have gone through Takahanga marae, who have provided food and sleeping facilities. However, the big issue for the marae at the moment is  water.

“We’ve just finished a briefing session with Civil Defence and hope to take supplies (water) in shortly. They have helicopters and we have some too”

And there are many other examples of human kindness being shown.  For instance by Jeff Reardon who has been providing Crayfish and other delicacies for those sleeping out. From One news:

Last night, a local restaurant owner turned up with curry for those sleeping out, and today, a local delicacy was on the menu.

A delivery of fresh Kaikoura crayfish was made by Jeff Reardon, who said it was a simple offering to make life easier for everyone

“After going through Christchurch it’s good to get rid of the people you don’t need here, to ease the burden on us all,” he told 1 NEWS.

“And if you send them away with a bit of a full stomach, they leave with a better memory.

“It’s not hard to be kind.”

The gesture was not lost on those who were in the town to get a taste of Kiwi hospitality.

“I never thought I’d have crayfish for breakfast in this situation,” one visitor said.

In these neo-liberal days where greed is meant to be good it is great to see that in times of crisis acts of real humanity still occur.

16 comments on “Kia ora Takahanga Marae”

  1. Rae 1

    I think these shaky days are clearly demonstrating another reason why we all need marae in our communities, perhaps a wee bit of support from the general community would go a long way.
    I’d love to know if there were any Trump voters being aided in Kaikoura and I wonder if it gave them pause for thought.

    • Brutus Iscariot 1.1

      I’m not religious at all, but this wistful veneration of marae seems to be in stark contrast to the absence of any fond feeling towards the former cornerstone of NZ and Western communities – local Churches.

      • Rae 1.1.1

        Marae are where people live, they have large kitchens in them in the Whare Kai, hangi pits even, they have large sleeping areas in Whare Nui, they are accustomed to catering to large groups easily, basically have it all down pat as a matter of course. This has nothing to do with religion and everything to do with preparedness, something a Marae, by nature of what it is, just is.

  2. greywarshark 2

    We definitely need true community in our communities. Local people pulling together for their patch, and advocating for the things they need to thrive and vital, and not just survive on the edge. I think we have to follow Maori. They are trying to hold onto their unifying social systems and culture which is warmer than our reversion to cold charity which gives handouts for a show of humanity strictly as a time-limited photo op.

    Interesting that there are so many warships around for an anniversary of something. They are doing good at the moment but various forces holding exercises here exercise my mind as to the shadow purpose behind.

  3. mac1 3

    Takohanga is a beautiful marae overlooking Kaikoura with the best views. Its hospitality has always been high, its sea-food legendary. The wharenui is wonderful in its artwork- matched by the aroha of the tangata whenua. A place to be proud of.

  4. Reality 4

    Takahanga marae has been wonderful. They stepped in immediately to help, with no mention of what it would cost them. Without their hospitality those stranded would be in a really bad way. Congratulations and thanks.

  5. Ad 5

    +100 mickey

  6. esoteric pineapples 6

    I was thinking last night how important marae have been in the Kaikoura earthquake, proving it is not some archaic way of life that has been superceded by a superior Europeancentric mode of living but remains a valid paradigm. Of course, there are western based forms of community help that are valid as well and used in such situations but the ethos of maraes seems perfectly suited to crisis situations like lack of housing and natural disasters. I don’t really understand why so many people feel so threatened by any move to incorporate Maori ways of doing and thinking into normal mainstream practice including democratic processes such as the Maori ward on New Plymouth city council when they see evidence all around them of how this can benefit everyone in society. A lot of New Zealanders want to simply stop the process when a better option is to accept and facilitate it so the best outcome is delivered for everyone in New Zealand.

  7. Yes and team members from Ngāi Tahu are heading up to help too. As Mark said 2oo generations or so. A very important place with high mana. So good to see people working together and be reminded of the kindness we can share.

    Thanks for the post.

  8. doc 8

    And given time when things have quietened a bit MSM will be back to publicising Maori for all the wrong reasons.

    • tc 8.1

      Under direction of nationals DP machine you bet along with the poor, unemployed, greenies and anyone else they can dog whistle up a distraction about.

  9. AmaKiwi 9

    Kia ora Takahanga Marae opens its doors to help feed and house the needy.

    I am sure any Auckland private country club or yacht club would do the same . . . . .

    Yeah right!

  10. Trevs BBQ Earthquake Relief Organization 10

    Takahunga Marae

    Please thank Lynne at Takahunga Marae for coordinating some donations we were able to supply by plane in the early stages of the Earthquake under the umbrella of Trevs BBQ Kaikoura Earthquake Relief from the people and businesses of the Ashburton and some neighbouring community districts.

    Please also thank Natalie Telford from the Kaikoura District Council, her team and Murry ( whom we still do not know his surname ) from the Kaikoura Aero Club / Airport.

    Without these 3 lovely people our job in supplying donations would not have happened as smoothly as it did.

    To date ( 19 November ) we have;
    1) Used $4500 of plane fuel. to date all supplied individually by our pilots from some seven planes used

    2) Done some 18 flights into Kaikoura under the close eye of Murray and his team at Kaikoura Aero Club / Airport

    3) Averaged 300kg of donations per flight into Kaikoura

    4) Most donations have initially gone to Takahunga Marae under the close supervision of Lynne, her team and the lovely Police personal of Simon Kairau and Toni Wall

    Our Facebook page Trevs BBQ Kaikoura Earthquake Relief became a vital tool in enabling this to happen along with Terry Hewitt of the Mid Canterbury Aero Club and Trev Hurley of Trevs BBQ.

    Happy to be able to help our neighbours in this trying time

    Kia Kaha

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