Govt invests additional $12m into Oranga Marae

By Talisa Kupenga

Christchurch's Rehua Marae welcomes a government boost to the Oranga Marae programme, an extra $12 million over four years to upgrade buildings and expand emergency kits for resilience in the event of a disaster.

Rehua Marae chairman David Ormbsy says, "It's natural for marae to open their doors no matter what happens, no matter where there is a crisis or otherwise, it is what we do.”

The funds are in addition to the $10 million over four years secured by Te Puni Kōkiri in 2017. The funding provides support for marae to be prepared for emergency responses and disasters, as well as environmental responses such as zero waste goals.

Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta says, "If families want to forward plan and create a strategy this is the money for that."

Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu spokeswoman Jo McLean says, "It could be things like generators, ensuring that they've got enough bedding, all those types of things. So I think it's a bit hard to say whether or not it is sufficient, I guess time will tell in terms of how many marae access that."

Rehua Marae was instrumental in supporting the many people who needed assistance following the Christchurch earthquakes.

Minister Mahuta says, "No matter who you are or where you're from, in events like the earthquakes in Christchurch and Kaikōura and the fires in Nelson our marae are first to respond."

Ormsby says, "The most important thing is whānau resiliency and recovery it takes a long time - and, for us, a simple example is the earthquake was February 2011 and we've only just managed to complete our earthquake repairs on the wharekai and wharenui in 2016 and early 2017."