This smart, modern Marae Conference Centre is the culmination of a long held dream to create a meeting place for members of Te Māhurehure Cultural Marae Society Inc.
It all began with the purchase of land back in January 1969. A bargain by today’s standards but back then it was a significant financial commitment for the members, one which took years of fundraising to pay off.
As the society’s patron, Mick Brown wrote: "…that relatively small group who raised funds to meet those purchase obligations must be remembered, indeed honoured for their astonishing vision, foresight gift to us all."
Starting with just a bare-floored football training shed and an empty field, the society undertook many years of fundraising through social functions, housie nights, cake stalls and sports events.
The socials, held every three months, were hugely popular with performances from high profile acts like the Yandall Sisters, Prince Tui Teka, Bunny Walters and many other legendary Maori entertainers. They became a mainstay on the social calendar with supporters travelling from north and south to attend.
Sunday sports events brought in more funds and more importantly—manpower to help maintain the site.
After five years of full-on fundraising efforts, the loan was paid off and serious work could begin on the site’s development.
Fast forward to 2003 and plans to rebuild the Marae start to take hold. By holding more fundraising events and subdividing some of the land for subsequent sale, the society gathered the necessary funds for construction to begin. Like any building project, there were delays and budget blowouts but by February 2009, new funding was secured and soon after, the makeover was complete.
“As far as Waima is concerned one thing is certain. Te Māhurehure have occupied this valley continuously ever since its first ancestors cleared and settled it. There was no one here before, and many fought and died in defence of the land, people, villages, crops and mana in the intervening generations.”
After WWII, many people moved to the cities, including the people of Waima. By the 1960’s the majority were living in Auckland. A thriving social scene ensured good tribal connections remained and it was due to these strong bonds that Te Māhurehure were able to come together and establish their Marae in Pt Chevalier.