Piritahi Marae is getting ready for its “biggest day yet”, the opening of the wharenui adorned with carvings.
A pre-dawn ceremony will be held on 5 June celebrating the fortieth anniversary of the marae and the opening of the whare whakairo, the first carved meeting house to stand on the island for more than 100 years.
Marae treasurer and project manager for the dressing of the wharenui, Sally Smith, says the excitement on the marae is “palpable” as people work to complete almost 50 carvings and woven tukutuku panels.
“This is the culmination of many years of dreams and hard work by the people who originally established the marae, many of whom are no longer with us.
“Once dressed the wharenui will become a whare whakairo, acting as the embodiment of an ancestor and holding the representations of iwi from across New Zealand,” she says.