For the past 33 years, Papatūānuku Kōkiri Marae has offered a support system and ‘beacon of light’ to the Māngere community.
With an emphasis on regenerative gardening practises and waste minimisation, the marae aims to build resilient and sustainable communities through building the capacity and capability of whānau in Māngere and its surrounding suburbs. From providing kai from the garden to meet community needs, through to teaching people how to grow, prepare & cook kai, the marae plays a crucial role in building the food security of the people in Māngere, and across Tāmaki Makaurau. Believing that food is a vehicle to connect communities, the marae also partners with other innovators working with food sovereignty and sustainability, such as Kai Ika, Homeland and Everybody Eats.
Handing the rākau to rangatahi as future leaders
The marae places a strong importance on the role of young people in influencing long-term intergenerational change. As tamariki grow, shaping them into strong, confident leaders is a key focus, and they are encouraged to take leadership facilitation roles in on and around the marae. During school holidays, rangatahi facilitators coordinate holiday programmes for local young students to be on the marae - to contribute, learn, and strengthen their cultural and environment knowledge. Two schools participate in marae-based programmes each term, enabling roughly 3,000 students to access the practical onsite experiences that the marae offers. Foundation North funding was granted towards the hiring of the rangatahi facilitators as well as other new roles - an important step towards growing the marae’s programmes. The placement of rangatahi in these roles also means Marae Managers Valerie Teraitua and Lionel Hotene can pass on the rākau to the next generation, allowing them to spend more time working to achieve their vision of the marae becoming self-determining rather than only responding to external demands. This includes oversight and planning for upgrading marae facilities, connecting with Iwi, marae and other organisations across Tāmaki, and strategic planning.
“The creation of roles at Papatūānuku will create pathways to employment for young people in the area. Typically, these are young adults (17-20), who are in some way already connected to the marae. This provides not only secure employment and uplifts their mana, but deepens their mātauranga Māori and connection to Papatūānuku.”
- Valerie Teraitua
Vital community partnerships
Built on a whanaungatanga-centred model of working, Papatūānuku Kōkiri Marae has grown, connected, and nurtured its space to support healthy and sustainable communities and increase equity through its sense of belonging and sharing. Grounded in “Oranga whenua, Oranga tangata” –the marae has been able to deal with important community issues due to its vital community partnerships.
To address the issue of poverty in South Auckland and to prevent minor crime, Papatūānuku Kōkiri Marae partnered with Counties Manukau Police in 2020 to develop Mana Wahine-Mana Tane Wānanga- a whānau-centric Supported Resolution pathway that provides transformative outcomes for participants and their whānau. The 6-week wānanga, funded by Foundation North, also focuses on each individual person’s needs and uses a holistic approach to address the underlying issues for behaviour.
"Manaaki Whenua, Manaaki Tangata, Haere Whakamua tatou, ‘Care for the land, care for the people, go forward together.’"
- Lionel Hotene
Papatūānuku prioritises the connection of young people to the environment. The marae makes up one third of Te Pū-ā-ngā Maara, an innovative rangatahi-led marae collective from South Auckland, alongside Manurewa Marae and Makaurau Marae. With a goal of developing “indigenous solutions for a sustainable future” the collective engages with rangatahi across South Auckland and provides a platform for them to be innovative in applying Matauranga Māori, Science and Digital Technologies to address issues important in the community. Last year Foundation North funding enabled the development of “Te Amorangi” - a prototype incubation hub designed to address the needs of Taiao innovators in supporting innovative training opportunities.
"Since inception in 2017 Papatūānuku Kōkiri Marae has played a key role in the shaping and honing of what Te Pu-a-nga Maara have become today. Each marae have held true to their individual aspirations each steeped within kōrero tuku iho and shaped by the nature of Te Taiao within their respective communities. We are grateful to each Marae for the amazing leadership and mobility displayed during a pandemic response. Pre-covid plans and the reality post covid have made us review and reshape those plans within this new world that allow us to embrace bigger and brighter opportunities for Rangatahi led Taiao innovation.." - Krissy Bishop, Manurewa Marae