Aperahama Edwards of Matapouri conducted the karakia and said, “He honore nui tena kia whai wahi ki te awhi i tenei kaupapa whakahirahira. E kore e mutu ngā mihi ki ngā ringa raupa kua whakapau kaha ki te kokiri i te moemoea a te iwi mo ta tatou marae a Whakapaumahara.”
Present at the karakia was Arco Group General Manager, Walter Hayman. The ARCO Group were awarded the Stage One contract after an extensive tender process.
Walter of ARCO Group said, “It was nice to be part of the blessing of the site today. We thank the marae for choosing our group to be part of this re-build. We will be moving on site later this afternoon, and are looking forward to beginning the work.”
ARCO Group were selected as they are a Whangarei based company that has developed a reputation over thirty years as being a consistent and reliable company and have a reputation for high quality work, being on time, within budget and to complete customer satisfaction.
Whakapaumahara Chairman, Takapari Walters, says, “We have come a long way.”
“Three years ago we started this project with a thought in mind that we needed a new dining room and toilet facilities.”
“That took three years of hard work on the ground, bringing all the whānau together so we could make all those decisions, wānanga after wānanga, tweaking all the plans as we went. After three long years of working with the Project Managers and the whānau, we now come to the beginning of the construction.”
“There has been some huge mahi by so many people, from fundraising and funding applications, documents that have been pulled together, quotes and pricing – just so much work.”
“We have been fortunate that a lot of mahi that has been done has been by koha.”
Toa Architects were brought on board in the early stages to be part of the master design plan and they spent a lot of time on site to get a feel of the marae and understand exactly what was needed by whānau in terms of design.
Tama says, “They (Toa Architects) took away the overview of the Tūkaiaia (a spiritual kaitiaki bird of Ngātiwai) flying over the marae and a feeling of the Tūkaiaia sitting above us protecting us. So when you look at the overall plan, that is the look and feel that we wanted. Stage one with the ablution block you will see that the design of this represents the fanning of the tail of the bird and that is why that layer divides in that lovely way.”
The complete re-build of the marae will be done over two stages. Stage two will see a complete re-build of the Wharekai (kitchen and dining room) and stage three will see a refurbishment of the Whare Tupuna(meeting house). More work and fundraising will be needed to progress stages two and three.
Takapari Walters says, “I would like to acknowledge my fellow Trustees, past and present, who have made a big contribution to this dream becoming a reality. There are also many other whānau that have given up their time and made huge efforts to get us here, particularly those that have achieved the funding to make this happen.”
“Special mention and acknowledgement must be made to our Project Managers, Dan Mawdsley and Tama Moore, who have given up so much of their time and their expertise to this project, all out of aroha. We are fortunate to have whānau that have these types of skill sets, who are willing to koha their time and efforts to our marae to achieve this fantastic result that now sees the beginning of the re-build.”