Campus marae redevelopment project underway


An artist’s impression of the new-look Kuratini Marae with the wharenui facing out toward the heart of the Wellington campus


Demolition work started on parts of the Kuratini Marae at the Wellington campus on Monday as preparations for the construction of a completely new wharenui, or meeting house, get underway.

When it is completed in mid 2016, the new-look marae will be physically re-positioned toward the centre of the campus with the existing wharenui converted into a wharekai.

Assistant Vice-Chancellor Māori and Pasifika, Dr Selwyn Katene, says the $1.875 million construction and re-positioning project  is necessary as the existing buildings and facilities are in need of an artistic and design upgrade.

“Orientation of the current building is not satisfactory with the wharekai positioned in front of the wharenui blocking it from the campus heart,” 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, Dr Katene says.

The wharenui began life as a prefab laboratory at Wellington Polytechnic’s Buckle St site and in 1977 was turned into a wharenui. In 1990 it was moved to its current location.

"The new marae will be a demonstrable display of Massey’s commitment to its students, staff and communities and future generations,” Dr Katene says.

The redevelopment is also important to Taranaki Whānui the local mana whenua linked to the University through the Wellington Tenths Trust who are pleased to support the upgrade, he says.

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.



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