Whangarei elders have wanted a Māori cultural centre for the district for decades, and now that a model of the centre has been created, project leaders are seeking funding to enable the first stage of construction to begin.
It’s envisaged this will be a house of learning for the peoples of Whangarei encompassing Māori arts and treasures.
Chairman Richard Drake says, “Our objective is to provide a centre where we can preserve and teach the culture so that generations coming forward can retain the values that we've all learnt from the past.”
Te Warahi Hetaraka says, “Our priority is having a centre where our young men and women can come to learn about who they are as Māori.”
The project has resource consent from both regional and district councils with building plans for the first stage nearing completion, the renovation of this building and a new canoe shelter. What's needed now is funding to begin construction.
Te Warahi Hetaraka says, “Of utmost importance right now and ahead of us in the near future is seeking support from our tribal rūnanga and Māori trusts.”
Now that other major projects in Whangarei have fallen by the wayside, perhaps it is time for a Māori Cultural Centre.