The closing ceremony for the dining hall of Waiōhau Marae took place this morning as they prepare for the demolition and re-build of their wharekai. A group of over 50 people attended the traditional ceremony in Waiōhau, a small community near Whakatāne.
It's history in the making for the community of Waiōhau as they close the use of their dining hall in preparation to build a new one.
Peter Te Atarau White (Ngāi Tūhoe) says, "I have a lot of love for this house that will be demolished, however this is the new year for our children that continue to come. "
Build in commemoration for the soldiers of World War II, the dining hall which was named Te Wao nui a Tāne has fed the multitudes of people who have visited Waiōhau Marae.
Rita Tupe (Ngāi Tūhoe) says, "When I was small I remember the teachings that our elders installed in us, how to run the kitchen, how to operate the house and that coincides with the overall running of the marae."
For many years, the people of the marae have been fundraising with the goal of re-building their dining hall last year the annual Waiōhau Marae hunting competition helped boost the funds to get them to $400,000 which has been matched, dollar for dollar by the Lotteries funding.
"Now the Trustees need to budget what funds we have in order to see the new dining hall be rebuild," says Tupe.
The demolition of the building is set to take place later on in the week.