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Hundreds of people are expected to gather at NorthTec’s Raumanga campus early on Monday morning (7 December), when the refurbished whare hui will be officially opened with a dawn ceremony.
The new-look whare at Te Puna o Te Mātauranga (The Spring of Knowledge) marae complex will be the most contemporary in Northland and unique within New Zealand, featuring modern artworks combined with carvings and weaving.
The design work has been project managed by renowned Māori artist and NorthTec Māori Arts tutor, Kura Te Waru-Rewiri.
Kura has contributed a number of artworks which will adorn the whare walls, with other artworks painted by fellow Māori Arts tutor, Lorraine King, and writer and artist, Michael Rewiri-Thorsen.
Tai Tokerau master carver, Te Warihi Hetaraka, created the carvings on the front face of the building. NorthTec carving tutor, James Te Kuiti Stewart, along with NorthTec Māori Arts students, Michael Cameron and Kawiti Wiremu, and former Applied Arts student, Akara Maihi, contributed the carvings found inside the whare hui.
A large team of weavers, led by NorthTec weaving tutor, Te Hemoata Henare, has been hard at work creating decorations for the walls.
The NorthTec marae complex was originally constructed and opened in 1991, as a spiritual home for students of Māori Studies and a focal point for Māori at NorthTec.
The refurbishment has been long planned and has been achieved this year through collaboration by NorthTec management and staff, master craftsmen and artists, and tradespeople from the local community.
NorthTec Chief Executive, Paul Binney, said Monday’s opening of the newly-designed whare hui would be a proud day for the organisation. “We are delighted with the quality of the wonderful artworks which I’m sure will be appreciated by all those who come into this building for many years to come.
“The marae complex is of huge importance to our students and it will be a wonderful place to welcome new students and visitors.”
Monday’s ceremonies will begin with a dawn ceremony at 5am, followed by a pōwhiri to welcome visitors and a festival with the wider community to celebrate the day.
The festival will feature displays by kapa haka groups from local schools, Totara Grove, St Francis Xavier, Te Kapehu Whetu and Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Te Rawhitiroa. There will also be performances by local musicians, the Martin Sisters, and the Hardcore Hip Hop dance company.