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Te Awhina to press on despite financial worries
May 28th, 2012
[by David Armstrong]
While Te Awhina Marae is struggling to maintain healthy finances, its spirit is still strong and the trustees will continue with key projects which include building improvements and working with the high school.
The annual general meeting of Te Awhina Marae O Motueka Society Inc held yesterday heard that the total money available to sustain the Marae's work, at about $854,000, is down 10% on last year, and that further work needs to be done to raise income from several possible sources.
However the trustees are determined to ensure its expanding and improving list of services provided for the Maori and general community will not suffer. They will continue to look closely at the finances in order to achieve an acceptable level of sustainability, given the current pressure on all social service providers in New Zealand.
Last year has seen the separation of the Marae's Hauora (health) services from its other activities, a move seen as necessary to ring-fence funding from the District Health Board for contracted services to ensure it can stand on its own feet without subsidisation from the Marae. The outcome of this is still being worked out and looks promising, but questions were raised about whether it would be financially better to rent premises in the town CBD.
However, the trustees are proceeding with the plan to relocate the Hauora and Kohanga (pre-school) buildings eastward onto the neighbouring, Wakatu-owned kiwifruit orchard, to enable them both to build better facilities in future, and to make them more self-contained and more easily able to be rented out if required.
At present they are in cramped locations unable to be upgraded. The relocations should take place within the next few months, and improvements to buildings will take place as funds allow.
As to possible extra funding, the Marae will consider charging a little more for the use of its site for hui, tangi and other meetings and events, given it charges less than Nelson-based Whakatu Marae for these services.
It also will ask Tasman District Council for some funding to account for the Marae's occasional use in Civil Defence operations, such as being the refuge centre for the district after the Christchurch earthquake.
Trustees were also able to report some good work going on with students and teachers at Motueka High School, helping to foster further Maori culture and leadership in some school activities as well as supporting students when they find themselves in trouble.
There has been only minor progress on the plan announced last year to further develop the Marae site. (See our earlier story.) The owners of the land, Wakatu Inc, have agreed in principle for the land earmarked for expansion to be transferred to Te Awhina, but are working on the best way to make this happen. Meanwhile the relocation of the health and Kohanga services to where they will finally sit is a start.
The main town event that Te Awhina is organising this year is for Matariki on June 30th at Memorial Hall, followed by participation in some challenge events between Marae in the district on July 1st. The Matariki event will include award presentations for achievements, and a meal at the hall.
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