Hōani Pāpita Marae was built in 1959 in Normanby, South Taranaki. The marae is the home of the Araukuku Catholic Māori Club and is a hub for whānau, hapu, iwi and the wider community. Recent renovations to the building were much needed.
 
“Nothing had been done to it since it was first built. The concrete needed to be painted, because there was no protection from the weather,” Kawarau Ngaia said.
 
“Our biggest priority for this funding was the toilets. The Marae was in need of some serious renovations, the bathroom floor was constantly flooded with water, and the showers, toilets and basins all needed attention.”

Funding of $50k from the Toi Community Strength Fund enabled the upgrade of these amenities. 
 
“We were getting barely enough money from running Hōani Pāpita to pay the power bill. We were fundraising all the time. We are really appreciative that we could get that funding through Toi Foundation,” Kawarau said.

“Because of Covid, we were meeting online last year. We decided to shut the place down until the renovations were done. We came back into Hōani Pāpita in April of this year and the toilets were done.”
 
“Hōani Pāpita was a marae set up for church and whānau, built with the help of all the whānau around Normanby. It was our Māori Mission priest who started the church of Hōani Pāpita. My dad was one of the founding members.” 
 
“On a regular basis there would be 200 people using Hōani Pāpita. We have Mass every first Sunday of the month. We run a hui aranga that we celebrate over Easter. But not everybody is Catholic. It is just a way of gathering for whanaungatanga.”
 
“My children have grown up there and now my mokopuna are doing the same. We can go there and gather for the iwi meetings, kapa haka practises, birthdays, weddings and much more,” Kawarau said.