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Visiting ancestral marae from Waikato to Whanganui was an eye-opener for Rameka Tu’inukuafe, a University of Auckland architecture student. He had volunteered to be a navigator for the Maori Maps team – charting, photographing and documenting marae throughout Aotearoa.
“Even after researching extensively for the trip, on the road we found marae we didn’t know existed,” he reported. “It shows how difficult it could be for people of my generation to contact their home marae if their whanau had lost touch.”
Maori Maps is managed by Te Potiki National Trust, an Auckland-based charity for which an operational donation from The Tindall Foundation has been a lifeline.
Established by Paora Tapsell and Rereata Makiha, the Trust aims to reconnect the ‘potiki generation’ of young, urban Maori with their marae – many of which are suffering a loss of community as older generations pass on.
The www.maorimaps.com website provides a free interactive map for browsers to locate and learn about marae. It will deliver a full nationwide database by 2013, after the research team completes its visits to over 850 marae.
“The Trust aims to guide descendants and visitors to the marae gateways, and support them to engage appropriately with local custodians,” Tapsell said.
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