Council votes to enable Te Kawerau a Maki to build marae

By Regan Paranihi

The Auckland Council Finance and Performance Committee has voted to enable Te Kawerau ā Maki to build its first ever marae at Te Henga.

West councilors Penny Hulse, Linda Cooper, and Ross Clow are pleased with the decision and says the land transfer offers the best option for Te Kawerau ā Maki’s preferences to develop a marae and papakāinga.

They say this progress is important as Te Kawerau ā Maki is the only mana whenua iwi in Auckland without a marae.

Executive Manager of Te Kawerau ā Maki, Edward Ashby, says, "Te Kawerau ā Maki welcome the decision by council to transfer the marae land set aside at Te Henga in fulfillment of the partnership agreement made with the former Waitākere City Council a decade ago."

Ashby says this decision is a historic moment for the west Auckland iwi as this development will allow them to build a presence within their community.

“We look forward to continuing to grow a positive relationship in partnership with Auckland Council and to embracing the Te Henga and west coast community through the return of our marae."

Te Kawerau ā Maki (alongside Ngāti Whātua) are acknowledged as tangata whenua of the heritage area by the Waitakere Ranges Heritage Area Act.

The decision follows the Environment and Community Committee's recommendation to revoke the reserve classification on the piece of land.