Who will pay for Marae earthquake upgrades?

By Herewini Waikato

Hurunga Te Rangi Marae for many years has been a safe place for all of Te Arawa, its people say.

But they are now concerned about a law that will compel them to upgrade their marae to earthquake strength requirements by 2026 or demolish it.

 “It’s not just us at Hurunga but it's all of us nationwide. Because you are basically pinpointing all of our whare tupuna and it is like, who fronts that bill?” Lorraine Hall of Te Hurunga Te Rangi Marae says

“If they are not going to be earthquake proofed, then what happens to our marae. Are they going to be pulled down? What does that do to our people when their tupuna is absolutely demolished?

“Then you are taking our people's mana away from what's been there for mai rā anō and that really irks me in regard to a colonised thing that has been put out on our people.”

There are about 1300 marae affected around the country.

This week, Te Arawa marae and Rotorua Lakes District Council gathered to work together on strengthening marae civil defence plans in case of emergencies.

Gina Rangi, DCE Te Arawa Partnerships says following the initial hui, part of working with marae in this space will be ensuring they have the guidance and support they need to ensure the safety of their buildings, as required by government legislation.

But Hall says: “We probably need to go to a discussion not only about us as Hurunga Te Rangi but also Ngāti Whakaue Pikiao in regards to what that looks like for all of us here in Te Arawa. It's not us in Hurunga that are going to be affected but actually, it is going to be all of us.