Topics: Environment, Indigenous

Young girl battling cancer wants to visit her marae

By Mere McLean
  • Waikato/Bay of Plenty

A young girl diagnosed with brain cancer wants to visit her marae, Murumurunga, in the Bay of Plenty.  12-year-old, Zavier Marshall and her whānau hope to visit the marae in December.

The visit is being welcomed by the local elders of Ngāti Whare. 

Kohiti Kohiti says that the marae is a beacon for his people, which is why he has supported a plea from Zavier Marshall to visit.

“This request to bring us together is something I support because it's bringing the families together, bringing the families home and it's uniting us.” 

Early in 2017, Marshall was diagnosed with a brain tumor.  Based in Invercargill, her whānau had moved to Churchurch so she could receive treatment.  She was given the all-clear recently but the tumor has resurfaced.

Her mother Val Marshall says, “In August we found out that her tumour had returned...seeing her turangawaewae is a big one.” 

Her extended whānau in Te Whaiti nui a Toi understand the hardships the whānau must be facing. 

Elder Mereru Mason says, “The main thing is for us to see her wish come true, to see her marae and hear the stories of her marae.” 

A group of Zavier's school friends are reportedly planning to come and support her.

Zavier and her whānau aim to start their journey at the beginning of next month.