Dawn ceremony to bless Auckland Airport marae

Published: Fri 10 Nov 2006 12:33 AM
Media Release from Auckland International Airport Marae Trust
Dawn ceremony to bless Auckland Airport marae
“Kotahi te kowhao o te ngira e kuhuna ai te miro
ma, te miro pango, te miro whero. I muri, kia mau
ki te aroha, ki te ture, me te whakapono.“
A marae built at Auckland Airport, marking a first for New Zealand, will be blessed at a traditional dawn ceremony on Saturday, 11 November.
“The tangatawhenua, people of the area, are Tainui and the marae is a symbol of the special relationship between them and Auckland International Airport Limited”, AIAL board chairman John Maasland said.
“No other airport in New Zealand has its own marae,” he said.
“The marae is a partnership between Tainui and a corporate entity. It is being managed by the Auckland International Airport Marae Trust, a charitable trust comprising Tainui and airport representatives, and chaired by airport chief executive Don Huse.
“The establishment of the marae, a traditional Maori meeting place, creates a unique cultural and educational setting for the airport and wider communities. Our airport gives visitors their first taste of New Zealand culture. We aim to create a special airport experience that delivers on ‘the New Zealand story’ and represents our many cultures.”
The blessing of the marae and its buildings near Tom Pearce Drive is taking place within Auckland Airport’s 40th year.
Adornments for the meeting house are symbolic of the marae’s significance and include carvings by Tainui carvers in the craft of whakairo, and woven tukutuku panels and painted kowhaiwhai scroll designs also contributed by the Tainui people.
The marae was developed with generous personal, monetary and material support from many individuals and organisations associated with the airport community.
Once blessed, the marae will be used for a variety of activities by the airport and wider community. These include official welcomes and farewelling of dignitaries, educational programmes and cultural events, and the provision of comfort and shelter for bereaved families. For example, it will assist in offering a facility for families when coming on airport to receive the body of a deceased family member from overseas.
The marae had its formal beginnings on 18 March 2003 when the Maori Queen, the late Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu ONZ, DBE and Bob Rawiri, chairman of the Nga Marae Toopu (Tainui Marae), signed a Memorandum of Understanding with AIAL representatives former chairman Wayne Boyd and then managing director and chief executive John Goulter for the establishment of a marae.
The Memorandum of Understanding provides that people of all cultures will be able to use, nurture and share in the value of the marae.
“The marae is a most positive and important move for tangatawhenua. It will cater for many cultural, celebratory and community occasions within the rapidly growing airport community,” Bob Rawiri said.
“The marae kawa (protocol) is Tainui and will be available for use by people of all ethnic groups, representative of the multicultural make-up of Auckland, and by the wider tourism community.”
The Saturday, 11 November dawn ceremony includes the blessing of the whare nui (meeting house), whare kai (dining room), waharoa (entrance) and paepae (welcoming area). Carvings crafted for the whare nui by Tainui carvers are a special feature.
The fully-adorned marae will be open on Wednesday, 15 November between 10am and 4pm so the public can view this special place.

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