Mākirikiri Marae in Dannevirke has opened its doors to the Freemasons allowing them to hold a traditional lodge meeting inside a wharenui.
Freemason Leader, Paddy Driver says, “As far as we know and from discussions from our headquarters we don't believe that it's been done in New Zealand before, but we don't know, but it'd be nice to find out.”
It was an experience the Freemasons hope will help discard any perceptions of them being a secret society. The Freemasons stay true to their ancient traditions that trace back to stonemasons in the 1500s.
"We've been seen as a secret society over the years. In the old days the men wouldn't talk about the lodge and it almost was a secret society in those days.”
“We're trying to get out more in the public and show ourselves in a greater light and that we do an awful lot of good for the community,” says Driver.
48 couples were welcomed onto the marae. It was an opportunity to understand the similarities between tikanga Māori and Freemasonry principles.
Hohepa Tatere says, "Māoridom has a very close relationship to free masonry in that it's like a family and once a family becomes associated with the marae it's not for one day it's for life."
The Freemasons believe in love of mankind and showing charity. Those are the principles they strive to live by.