Hapū looking to fight plans to relocate central city marae

updated By Raniera Harrison

A Whangārei central city hapū are preparing to fight for their marae to remain on its current premises.

A spokeswoman for Te Parawhau is challenging Whangārei District Council saying that they are shortchanging the hapū, following discussions regarding the potential moving of Terenga Parāoa Marae.

"They would rather see a big roundabout where our marae stands. Well, it ain't gonna happen" says Mira Norris, a long-standing trustee of Terenga Parāoa Marae.

She says they have been "boxed-in" in an attempt to move the marae from its estimated multi-million-dollar location.

"It would please Whangārei District Council if we removed the marae from here but we can't. We don't have that authority. You are only kaitiaki (guardians)" she added.

Discussions over the location of the marae have been going for some time.

As early as 2000, the idea was floated to move the marae from its central city premises to a site overlooking Toll Stadium, on the southern outskirts of the city.

Whangārei mayor, Sheryl Mai says "there are two schools of thought as to whether the marae should stay there. Can it be relocated? Some people would say never, ever - others say let's look at this, let's talk."

However, some marae trustees are not willing to engage in discussions to move the marae at all.

Norris says that the numerous roading projects surrounding the marae have impeded hugely on operations.

"We certainly know that there's a sense that the Council is doing things without proper consultation with Te Parawhau," says Mai.

It is still unclear when the Whangārei District Council and relevant boards will convene again to discuss the issue.