Tēnā koutou, ngā uri nō Ōtākou, I hope the winter has treated you well. As I look out the office window and see the sun shining on our whanauka at Puketeraki Moeraki and the harbour sparkling in the sunlight, you can definitely tell that it’s Spring.

Māra kai

We have held a successful first wānanga to establish our māra kai up behind the school. People gathered from around the community to learn from our local expert, Peta Hudson, how to make organic compost and liquid fertiliser.

The liquid fertiliser was made using an ingenious method of a drum, water, compost in a stocking, and an aquarium pump! There was a lot of discussion and questions, and participants left inspired and enthusiastic.

Peta and our own Peter Asher and Moana Wesley have got together and discussed designing our māra utilising permaculture principles and tikanga. Our next wānanga being held in September will look at making ‘no-dig’ gardens and making organic seed-raising mix. I’m especially looking forward to this, people living at this end of the Otago Peninsula know that you either have a garden made in the sand, or if you live on a hill, you try to put your garden into solid clay, so anything that makes building a garden easy is good in my books!

Stacks of stable manure and seaweed ready for the compost heap!

Liquid fertiliser brewing away.

If you want to be involved in this awesome kaupapa, contact the office for more details on our series of wānanga, where we will create māra kai, and learn gardening techniques based on permaculture and tikanga over the course of a year.

Nā Rachel Wesley.

Construction at the Ōtākou Marae

Interior of the basement.

As I look out the window, I can see the block work for the dining room level of our new wharekai going up. When Hakuiao (the wharekai) is complete she will be impressive! At this stage, completion is expected to be around March.

We now have two community fire fighting tanks installed, filled, and nearly ready to go. These are a must on the kāik, with the local volunteer fire brigade normally taking up to half an hour to get here, historically houses would be nearly burned to the ground by the time anyone turned up.

The floor of the dining room, waiting for the concrete truck to arrive to pour the floor.

The front of the basement level, another level to go on yet for the dining room!

Fundraising efforts

So far the fundraising effort has been impressive and we have drawn on over $1m of our own funds as well as received support from Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu and the Ngāi Tahu Fund with their new capital development programme. Lotteries New Zealand, via the marae heritage fund, have also made a significant contribution as have Te Puni Kōkiri.

This funding has supported everything from the project scoping and planning phases, to the engagement of project managers and, more recently, the actual build phase. We still require further funds as our funding shortfall as at July is $660,000. All koha to our building fund are gratefully received!

Our account details are as follows:
Te Rūnanga o Ōtākou
01 0902 00069111 046 (ANZ).
Please reference your koha with your name, so we can personally acknowledge your contribution!