Māori entrepreneurs build indigenous accommodation network

By Bronson Perich

Book a Marae aims to be for marae what AirBnB is for homes.

The brainchild of Breviss Wolfgramm (Te Arawa) and Hyrum Sunnex (Ngāti Maniapoto, Ngāpuhi), the business has been in operation for 21 months.

The venture aims to help marae enter the tourism, education and professional development industries.

“What they’re able to do is create a revenue income stream,” Breviss Wolfgramm says.

“They’re able to diversify in the sense that they can have their own cultural experiences.”

The marae can operate independently or work with existing tourism and education networks.

Te Taua Moana o Aotearoa Marae hosts Book a Marae customers - Video / YouTube

Opening marae for tourism and education ventures can be potentially problematic. When a tribal descendent dies, the marae hosting the tangihanga (funeral proceedings) would be required to cancel whatever event that is in progress.

Wolfgramm explains how Book a Marae would resolve that issue.

“Tikanga is non-negotiable,” Wolfgramm says.

“We will then move them to another marae that’s under the umbrella of Book a Marae.”

Book a Marae takes ten percent of all booking fees generated by each marae in the network. The network includes marae both  in Aotearoa and the Cook Islands.