Te Manaaki o Te Marae

Some members of Building Better’s Te Manaaki o Te Marae research team at Te Puea Memorial Marae, from left Anaru Waa, Rau Hoskins, Professor Jenny Lee-Morgan, Rihi Te Nana, Professor Linda Smith, and Reuben Smiler.

In the winter of 2016, Te Puea Memorial Marae – based in South Auckland’s Mangere – was spurred to action to provide safe haven for vulnerable whānau seeking emergency housing.

In the legacy of Te Puea Herangi, the Marae opened its doors to homeless whānau across the Tāmaki rohe. Initiating this kaupapa Māori response was vital. While the grassroots programme disrupted the wider Auckland housing narrative by revealing the ‘crisis’, for whānau Māori who were homeless, the Manaaki Tāngata E Rua transitional housing programme offered not only a chance to get off the streets but ultimately by taking a uniquely Māori approach – based on manaaki tāngata and tikanga Māori principles in general – many families were effectively transitioned into homes and stable living environments.

Over the past two years, Building Better Homes, Towns and Cities flagship Māori research programme Kāinga Tahi, Kāinga Rua has been co-creating the Te Manaaki o Te Marae with Te Puea Memorial Marae to understand how this could be applied universally. The research programme – led by Unitec’s Rau Hoskins and Jenny-Lee Morgan – takes a kaupapa-Māori approach. “It is a good example of how Law and Lore can work successfully together on a Marae,” explains Te Puea Memorial Marae Chairman Hurimoana Dennis.

Initial insights into the two-year research programme, which concludes in June 2019, show the transformational potential of marae to assist in addressing whānau aspirations and needs for long-term, affordable, and healthy housing. “What’s exciting is we’re beginning to understand why tikanga Māori works to help people feel loved, warm and supported,” says Rau Hoskins. “With a formula, it could help develop a universal framework for the benefit of all.”

The research team is in the process of completing all data gathering activities and beginning the data analysis. This research will strengthen marae (mana whenua, taura here, and mataawaka) to engage in the housing crisis for urban Māori in culturally-consistent and sustainable ways. It also aims to enable (local) government agencies and NGOs to better engage with and support marae-led Māori housing solutions.

Contact: Rau Hoskins, rau@designtribe.co.nz.

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Date posted: 27 February 2019