Wednesday, May 22, 2024
Times of Georgia
HomePoliticalTe Rūnanga O Ngāti Whātua Welcomes Commissioner's Decision Regarding Awataha Marae

Te Rūnanga O Ngāti Whātua Welcomes Commissioner’s Decision Regarding Awataha Marae


Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Whātua acknowledges the recent
decision by the Commissioner of Crown Lands, affirming the
concerns raised regarding breaches of the Crown lease of
Awataha Marae by Awataha Marae Incorporated Society
(AMIS).

The original intention behind the lease was to
facilitate traditional Māori marae activities, where
tangihanga was prioritised over all other activities. It was
also intended that individuals of good repute (including
Māori from the local community) would have the opportunity
to join AMIS and contribute to marae operations.

The
Crown charged peppercorn rental for the lease which was
signed in 1988. However, over the past 35 years, numerous
requests from community members to hold tangihanga at the
marae have been denied, resulting in such ceremonies being
conducted in homes and garages.

The Commissioner’s
decision validates the longstanding efforts of the local
community and ensures that Awataha Marae will be managed to
serve the needs of the local community, particularly for
hosting tangihanga.

Key findings of the Commissioner’s
decision include breaches related to the failure to
prioritise tangihanga and inadequate opportunities for
eligible individuals to join AMIS. While the Commissioner
has not initiated lease forfeiture proceedings at this time,
he has provided recommendations aimed at remedying these
breaches.

The suggested measures include dedicating a
marae building for tangihanga, updating the marae website to
facilitate bookings for tangihanga, and reconsidering the
ongoing necessity of rāhui over the wharenui at Awataha
Marae.

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In addition, AMIS has been instructed to
convene a Special General Meeting to address membership
applications and to enhance engagement with Ngāti
Whātua.

Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Whātua remains
committed to collaborating with the local Māori community
to uphold the original purposes of the lease, ensuring that
the marae serves as a venue for traditional activities and
that community members can actively participate in its
management.

CEO Alan Riwaka expressed appreciation for
the unwavering commitment of local whānau and
hāporimembers in championing the cause. He emphasised the
significance of acknowledging their struggle, as many have
had to resort to conducting tangihanga ceremonies in
makeshift locations due to the unavailability of the
marae.

Riwaka reiterated the stance of Te Rūnanga o
Ngāti Whātua was to support the whānau and hāpori
members and ensure the marae is managed in alignment with
its intended purpose for the benefit of all
stakeholders.

© Scoop Media

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