Up to $2.5mil needed to keep Urban Marae open

By Talisa Kupenga

An urban marae in Wellington is facing closure if more than $500,000 can't be raised to salvage it. Tapu Te Ranga Marae was built from recycled materials and off the backs of homeless youth, ex-cons, and gang members. Now it is appealing to the public to donate funds to save the building, which is a haven for those with nowhere to go.

Tapu Te Ranga Marae, build in the 1970s, started with $25 in Bruce Stewart's pocket and a dream. But the reality is that the 10-storey urban marae is likely to close if it cannot meet building standards.

Marae spokesperson Pare Sannyasi says, “We can have around 150 people stay but last year it was around 300. Many families from the Salvation Army, WINZ, and the hospital come here to stay but many haven't been able to come this year because we don't have space for them.”

The marae's proverb "those who build the house are built by the house" was coined by Pare's father Bruce. There is a lot to fix at a high cost.

“Not all the houses meet the 2016 compliance rules and we don't know how much it is going to cost to fix all the problems. But some estimate that it could cost between $500,000 and $2.5mil.”

Tapu Te Ranga has started a Givealittle page to raise funds and is organising a fundraising dinner for December. They are putting the call out to musicians, poets, and artists who would like to perform to support the cause.

“My father is the elder here but his health is declining. If the marae completely closes, I don't know what will happen to any of us, especially to him or the other elders here. It's sad because this means everything to them.”

Wellington Council says there is no deadline for the renovations. Councillor Paul Eagle says that next week a range of officers will be assembled to meet with Tapu Te Ranga to discuss a way forward to progress the building issues.

Tapu Te Ranga Marae Give-a-little Page- https://givealittle.co.nz/cause/supporttapu