The funeral of a three-year old toddler has been shifted from Mokai Marae near Taupō to a new location after a large fire broke out in the marae dining hall.
Te Kāea reporter Mere McLean was at the marae today as whānau members returned to observe the damage.
The lingering smell of smoke greeted whānau at Mokai Marae this morning.
Spokesperson for Mokai Marae, Eru George says, “We are feeling deep despair.This dining hall was named after Parehingaawatea.
Parehingaawatea was the wife of our chief and our meeting house Pakake Taiari.”
Eru George says a fire broke out in the marae dining hall, Parehingaawatea, yesterday afternoon while a funeral was taking place.
He says, “Eru George, “We had only just called the house to come in for lunch yesterday.We were shocked because the fire had just started.
George says the marae is compliant with fire regulations.
However, there were no fire alarms installed in the dining and kitchen areas.
He says the marae trust is relieved no one was hurt and the engulfed buildings are insured.
“This morning, we received word that we would be all right, the account has been paid.We had been looking at building a new dining room.”
Tomorrow, security fences will be set in place to ensure the area is safe.
Elders of Mokai Marae have closed off the marae to the public until a new dining hall is built.