Manurewa and Te Puea Maraes Open their Doors

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Braydon Harwood

Earlier this year, Te Puea Marae in Mangere Bridge, Auckland, implemented a programme called Manaaki Tangata (to support or take care of people), which extended an invitation of shelter and general care. As a result of the programme, Te Puea Marae supported 187 people who have been without homes over a 3 month span. The initiative was undertaken to address the area’s alarming homeless levels and raise awareness in the process.

A 15 minute drive from Te Puea, Manurewa Marae were inspired by the work done by their neighbours and opened their doors to at-risk members of their community on August 15. “When Te Puea Marae in Mangere put the call out for other marae to help we knew we had to get involved. We have been able to take some of the processes and lessons from Te Puea and build them into our Whakapiki Ora project [for those] people sleeping in cars or roughing it in these freezing conditions,” said Rangi McLean, Manurewa Marae board member. Whakapiki Ora, which means to ‘revitalise’, is in its last week of a 12 week campaign this week.

Among the key contributors from Jasmax is Elisapeta Heta, who was introduced to these projects through her role as Secretary in Architecture+Women NZ. With the support of A+W NZ members, there was a drive for donations to be collected at Jasmax which enabled the delivery of over nine carloads of goods to Te Puea throughout their Manaaki Tangata campaign. Elisapeta noted, “Once Manurewa took on the mantle, and Jasmax’s Te Reo class were made aware of our kaiako (teacher’s), Te Puawaitanga’s, involvement with Manurewa marae, there was a natural progression of the promotion of the Whakapiki Ora project, and similar donations were gathered.”

This inspired a contingent from Jasmax to make a regular journey to Manurewa Marae on Wednesday evenings to help with general housekeeping duties required in housing over 100 people. The Jasmax studio has been a collection point for food and clothing donations, with general support extending beyond co-workers to friends and family. There has also been an opportunity to stay on the marae to act as kaitiaki (guardians); to help look after children and provide emotional support for families.

During this time, Architectural Graduates Gwena Gilbert and Nick Johnston, signed up to host a design charrette as part of Architecture Week 2016, and were presented with an opportunity to develop a brief that aligned with the challenges that these Maraes are both facing and working to address. Gwena and Nick worked with the New Zealand Housing Foundation to encourage their peers to devise architectural solutions for a real life community site that upheld Maori values of Papakainga, or traditional communal housing.

“Ehara taku toa i te toa takitahi, engari he toa takatini… Success is not the work of one, but the work of many” - Manurewa Marae Chief Executive Lorraine Byers. To find out more, visit Manaaki Tangata and Whakapiki Ora.

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