Urenui Pā holds special significance for Ngāti Mutunga, as the sole remaining marae for the iwi. A collaboration between the Urenui Pā Trustees and the rūnanga of Ngāti Mutunga is working to revitalize the marae.
“Urenui Pā has been there since the early 1870s. It is a really special taonga of significance to Urenui and Ngāti Mutunga and also to the wider community. The buildings and the land needed revitalization, so the taonga were there for generations to come,” said Brent Matuku, Chairperson of the Committee.
The marae has two key buildings that are over 100 years old. As well as improvements to the buildings, the committee plans to develop the land around the marae.
“We needed to take immediate steps to maintain the buildings and ensure they didn’t deteriorate further."
“It started off with a wānanga a couple of years ago. We had over 200 people from across New Zealand meet to discuss Urenui Pā. But It was going to cost a significant amount of money just to develop the aspirations of what the whānau wanted to do."
Toi Foundation provided a grant of $122k to assist with the costs of the revitalization project.
“We created a working committee with people who have experience in different areas and I'm privileged to be the Chairperson. The biggest challenge has been ensuring that we have strong, clear communication back to whānau because at least half of Mutunga whānau live outside of Taranaki,” Brent said.
“We have had hundreds of hours of professional engagement with engineers and developers, wānanga, Zoom hui and Mutunga uri feedback. We’ve engaged a project manager and architects and are hoping to have finalised detailed plans by February 2022. The Toi Foundation has given us confidence that we can achieve this.”
“We want to connect Mutunga whānau back to the pā. One of our guiding principles is to promote the cultural, spiritual and educational needs of the people,” Brent said.