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Protecting taonga

A new fund has been set up to help iwi, hapu and whanau protect taonga (treasures) on marae.

Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Carmel Sepuloni yesterday announced the opening of the Matauranga Maori Marae Ora Fund— a $5.7 million contestable fund to support Maori with projects that safeguard their matauranga (knowledge) and taonga from the ongoing threat of Covid-19.

“Whakapapa (genealogy) and cultural identity for tangata whenua are held within marae across the motu (nation),” she said.

“Marae also play an integral part in preserving the cultural vitality of Maori and Aotearoa as a whole. This identity is unique to the world and this fund is a step towards protecting our country's matauranga and taonga for future generations.

“The matauranga and taonga held on marae are already at risk due to low numbers of matauranga holders and the limited financial resources available to support their preservation,” said Ms Sepuloni.

“These risks have been heightened by the global pandemic.

“The Matauranga Maori Marae Ora Fund offers support for a range of marae-based projects. This includes the development of conservation plans for whare and wharenui (meeting house) arts, the establishment of harvest areas for cultural materials such as pa harakeke (flax) and totara, and the preservation of taonga such as waka tiwai (canoe), korowai (cloak) and photographs.

“Funding is also available to assist with the creation of archives, small whare taonga or publications as a way to both preserve and provide access to matauranga and taonga on marae.

“Ahikaa marae communities have always been the keepers of matauranga Maori and the kaitiaki (guardian) of taonga.

“This fund will support these communities directly to continue their conservation efforts and to grow their capacity to sustain their cultural heritage,” Ms Sepuloni said.

The Matauranga Maori Marae Ora Fund is part of a wider $20 million Matauranga Maori Te Awe Kotuku programme announced in December 2020.

It includes 18 diverse initiatives to support iwi, hapu and Maori communities to safeguard at-risk matauranga Maori and protect indigenous knowledge from the threat of Covid-19.

The Matauranga Maori Marae Ora Fund is being administered by Te Tari Taiwhenua/ Department of Internal Affairs.

It is designed to complement other funding available to marae such as the Provincial Growth Fund and the Oranga Marae programme jointly administered by Te Tari Taiwhenua and Te Puni Kokiri.

The Matauranga Maori Marae Ora Fund was developed in partnership between Manatu Taonga/Ministry for Culture and Heritage, Te Tari Taiwhenua, Te Puni Kokiri and Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga.

Full details about the fund and how to apply are available on the Te Tari Taiwhenua funding website communitymatters.govt.nz/the-matauranga-maori-marae-ora-fund