Mauri stone ceremony completed at marae

Student recruitment adviser Belinda Weepu was among several staff who helped shovel in earthworks as part of a small ceremony positioning the mauri stone on the site of the marae redevelopment.

Massey staff and students, including mana whenua, gathered at the site of the former Kuratini Marae on the Wellington campus last week for a short ceremony that represented another stage in the construction of a new wharenui or meeting house.

The mauri stone located under the old wharekai was placed its new position on site allowing for the building of the new wharenui to go ahead as planned.

Assistant Vice-Chancellor Māori and Pasifika, Dr Selwyn Katene, says the marae’s mauri or life force is concentrated into the stone for protection. It is the same stone used when the old wharekai was placed on site 25 years ago.

A spokesman for Taranaki Whānui, representing the local mana whenua, Peter Jackson, conducted the ceremony saying that he was impressed that the right cultural procedures were observed.

Staff and students were invited to symbolically shovel earthworks back over the stone and help fill in the hole ahead of the resumption of construction on the marae project.

Athfield Architects, which designed the neighbouring College of Creative Arts building Te Ara Hihiko, has been awarded the contract to design the new-look marae with construction carried out by Arrow International.

Dr Katene says  the new marae facilities, complete with plantings and landscaping, will provide a meeting space that is contemporary, culturally rich and well integrated into the campus environment.



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