High time for some marae DIY

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An Oamaru building few people know exists could undergo a makeover that will mean national exposure.
Te Whare Koa marae, in France St, central Oamaru, has been shortlisted to be renovated as part of the Marae DIY television programme, which screens on TV3.
The urban marae was established in the 1970s for all Maori in Oamaru, no matter what their tribal affiliation. It is in desperate need of maintenance, especially the exterior and outbuildings.
Marae DIY selects seven marae each year to renovate and rarely comes to the South Island.
While that is not a barrier for the show coming to Oamaru, there was a key criterion Te Whare Koa had to meet if Oamaru’s marae had any chance of being spruced up.
Mike Mullins, who has been involved with the marae for the past several years, said at least $30,000 had to be raised to help fund the project, a figure which would then be tripled to about $90,000 by Marae DIY’s sponsors and contacts.
Mr Mullins was put on to Marae DIY by a friend, who encouraged him to try his luck.
The producer he spoke to was interested in bringing the show to Oamaru provided the $30,000 was raised by next year, probably about April, he said.
‘‘It’s crunch time, really.
‘‘We need to make a decision and see if we can do it.’’
The matter will be discussed at Te Whare Koa’s annual meeting next week.
Trustees will be elected at the meeting and an incorporated society will be registered, so as to be able to apply for grants. Mr Mullins has spoken to Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher about the possibility of funding. ‘‘I think the minimum council was able to provide was $3000,
? It’s crunch time, really. We need to makea decision and see if we can do it ?
Mike Mullins
but if we have a bit more robust discussion about how else we can look to the council, that money could be increased.’’
He said the marae could be used for events, conferences, hangi and school visits.
Mr Mullins said a revitalised marae could boost kapa haka in Oamaru and te reo Maori in schools. The next step was getting the word out about the marae, he said.
‘‘I would say very little people know about it. We had a hangi here a couple of years ago and some smaller things have happened but I’d say a lot of people don’t know we are here. It doesn’t look like a marae — that’s another thing.’’
A health group meets at the marae weekly.