$4.9m project completed with marae reopening

  • Hon Shane Jones

A significant marae has reopened in the heart of Rotorua marking the end of renovations for the Ruatāhuna Marae Renovation Cluster, a project that provided much-needed jobs and regional economic stimulus, Regional Development Minister Shane Jones says.

Mr Jones was at the official reopening of Mātaatua ki Rotorua Marae today. It is one of 10 marae associated with Ngāi Tūhoe which received $4.9 million in grant funding from the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) for renovations.

“Mātaatua ki Rotorua Marae has served as a vital gathering place for generations. Now, with a beautifully restored wharenui and essential upgrades, it will continue to nurture Tūhoe’s history and identity for future generations,” Mr Jones says.

In total, 349 marae across the country were renovated through the Marae Renovation Programme, a $96.6m fund allocated from the PGF to enable the restoration and refurbishment of these important community hubs.

“This investment has been a huge boost for marae and their communities. Many marae were desperately in need of repairs, and this funding has been a critical lifeline. Not only are our marae being revitalised but the project has injected millions into regional economies through wages and spending on building materials and services, and created a total of 3556 jobs. It’s a win-win for preserving our cultural heritage and boosting regional economies,” Mr Jones says.

For many marae, it was the first time they had been able to offer paid work to their communities. The programme also provided meaningful and stable employment for those who were impacted by the economic downturn created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Editors note

Mātaatua Marae holds immense cultural significance for Tūhoe. Situated on gifted land from Ngāti Whakaue of Te Arawa for the descendants of Tūhoe during the early 1900s, it has served as a central meeting point for generations.

In the 1950s, the marae became a central meeting point for members of Tūhoe and Ngāti Whare who moved from their homelands in Te Urewera to take up employment within the burgeoning forestry industry whose local milling centre was in Rotorua.

Tūhoe kawa and tikanga continues to be maintained by Tūhoe people living in Rotorua.

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