Marae revival still in limbo

Many hands have delved into the restoration of Tokoroa Community Marae but it will not be open anytime soon.

Hours of work have gone into bringing the Lochmaben St marae back to life but its future is unknown due to asbestos in one of the buildings.

While Nga Waka Trust plays the waiting game, Thomas Joseph remains positive. The Tokoroa counsellor collaborated with the trust last year to help drive the cleanup. He said it was a "wasted resource" and hoped to see it running as a community centre.

The restoration plan comes five years after an outcry over a proposed community garden there. The proposal fell through after neighbours opposed using youth offenders to build the garden.

The marae has been unused since. But after years of neglect, Nga Waka Trust decided to refocus on the marae. An outstanding rates bill of $37,000 is being paid off, aided by $1400 fundraising. Individuals have helped in different ways, including Dennis Andrews and a crew from Acre Maker who cleared the shrubs. Aaron Reedy of Materials Processing Ltd removed the green waste as the marae was valuable to Tokoroa.

While the outside appears finished, Joseph said there was still a lot to do.