Arahura Marae unveil new meeting house

By Wepiha Te Kanawa
  • South Island

It's been nearly 150 years since the Ngāi Tahu hapū Ngāti Waewae have had a marae they can call their own.  It's been four years in the making costing an estimated $5.5 million.

Today Arahura Marae was unveiled in Hokitika. 

The first karanga was heard on Arahura Marae today and it's the first time these Ngāti Waewae descendants have set eyes on their new meeting house.

In true Ngāi Tahu style, Pounamu adorns Tūhuru and its warriors wielding the sacred stone of their river.

Te Rua Mason says, “From way back during war, until now, pounamu was a weapon of death, a bringer of war known by all the iwi, hapū and families here.  Today the pounamu is a symbol of unity and a bringer of peace.”

Women doing mau rākau is a tradition seen on the marae in the old days.  Today that tradition has been revived.

“I’m a weka and a pūkeko.  When I do the wero, I try and inherit the things weka and pūkeko do,” Maia Campbell explains.

Henare Teaika Puanaki says, “We have been weeping for many years now, because of the decline if our language and protocol.  But today we can see the language is returning and our customs are being revived and Ngāti Waewae are empowered.”

Now that the official protocols have been completed, Tūhuru is ready for business.  Its first event is tomorrow where Ngāi Tahu will holds its annual general meeting.