A marae complex with a modern twist on Wintec's Hamilton city campus was opened by King Tuheitia at a dawn ceremony on February 27. Its name, Te Kōpū Mānia o Kirikiriroa, reflects the cultural integrity and function of the complex.
Te Kōpū Mānia refers to the origins of the hill at Wintec and its surrounds as "the fertile valley and gardens of Kirikiriroa".
The marae features three areas: a wharenui (main meeting house), whare kai (dining room and kitchen) and te tari (office/administration area). It will be fully-operational once it is opened in February by King Tuheitia.
It will play a key role in enhancing Māori achievement by supporting students, staff and the community with their mātauranga Māori (Māori education). It will also provide a spiritual home and identity for Māori on campus.
Its design is a contemporary version of a traditional wharenui. Its courtyard will double as an additional space and social gathering area.
The marae will primarily be used as a teaching space but will also be a key events space, a place to embrace Māori, Pasifika and other cultures and communities, and an area for staff and students to meet for hui (meetings or social gatherings), karakia (prayer) and waiata (song).
Wintec Chief Executive Mark Flowers says "Our new marae will enhance Māori achievement at Wintec by supporting students, staff and the community with their mātauranga Māori (Māori education) and tikanga (Māori customs and traditions). It will provide a spiritual home and identity for Māori on campus. It will also be used to showcase Māori culture to our many international visitors."
Tainui carver Warren McGrath from Ngāti Raukawa was commissioned to create carvings for the marae. Warren is one of Tainui's new generation of expert master carvers and a former Wintec student who completed his Māori Trades Training when Wintec was Waikato Polytechnic. His carvings and projects include the gateway at Auckland Airport, a war canoe built for King Tūheitia and the entrance at Sport Waikato which incorporates a combination of carved wood and stainless steel.
The $2.2 million marae is part of Wintec's campus modernisation programme which has recently seen the refurbishment of Wintec House, the opening of Rotokauri campus hub, and the Gallagher Hub.
"It is great to see the programme in full swing and positively changing the look and feel of our environment for our students, staff and community to enjoy."