$30k raised for marae ruined by fire

By Jessica Tyson
Photo source: File

Around 650 people have donated more than $30,000 to a givealittle page to help towards the rebuild of Wellington’s Tapu Te Ranga Marae.

The page, set up by Tapu Te Ranga Charitable Trust, has received the donations in the first seven hours since it was set up on Sunday afternoon.

At the marae complex, the whare tūpuna ancestral house, named Pare Waaka, was burned to the ground during the fire in the early hours of Sunday morning. A number of other buildings were also damaged. 

Marae spokesperson Gabriel Tupou says, "We believe that we can rebuild the marae to continue the charitable kaupapa of the Trust."

The marae was built in the 1970s and had served as a place where unemployed and homeless young Māori could learn life skills and reconnect with their culture. It was built by people from the local community, led by the late Bruce Stewart who died in 2017.

"It’s really our Tūrangawaewae. It’s a place where not only we as the whānau stand but also the hundreds and thousands of people who have come through," says Tupou.

“In terms of taonga, we’ve lost some personal family items, photos of our tūpuna and valuable artworks,” says Tupou.

Despite the ruins, the whānau are staying positive.

“The whānau are the heart of the marae, so even though some of the structure is no longer there, the people are still here and we are still willing, and together with the community we can rebuild the marae."