Modern twist for Wintec marae

Traditional marae with modern aesthetic

LOUISE RISK
Last updated 05:00 28/02/2012
Wintec marae
MARK TAYLOR/Fairfax NZ

CONTEMPORARY DESIGN: Hera White, Wintec's director of Maori, and Tame Pokaia the polytech's kaumatua stand proud on the new city campus marae, Te Kopu Mania o Kirikiriroa.

Wintec marae
CONTEMPORARY DESIGN: Hera White, Wintec's director of Maori, and Tame Pokaia the polytech's kaumatua stand proud on the new city campus marae, Te Kopu Mania o Kirikiriroa.

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Wintec's new marae was met with some surprise at yesterday's dawn opening ceremony, but people were positive about the modern facility.

About 300 people, including Wintec staff, staff from education institutes around New Zealand and local iwi representatives gathered in the chilly pre-dawn darkness for King Tuheitia to open Te Kopu Mania o Kirikiriroa, Wintec's new $2.25m city campus marae.

Tainui master carver Warren McGrath worked to the wire, with the final, uniquely modern carvings going on the marae shortly before the ceremony began.

The three-building facility, including a wharenui, an administration office including bathrooms and showers, and a dining area, was designed by Hamilton-based Moaa Architects, and embraced traditional aspects of a marae but had a modern aesthetic in keeping with Wintec's overall ethos.

Wintec kaumatua Tame Pokaia said he was involved with the marae from its inception, and he saw a lot of symbolism in the design, which had a raised roof "protecting" the wharenui and the dining room.

Mr Pokaia said the roof symbolised Wintec's protection of its students, but the lack of a raised roof on the administration block showed students would still have to step up and work hard to receive their degrees or diplomas. "It's not something we just give away."

Chief executive Mark Flowers said the polytech had deliberately moved away from a traditional marae design so it would be more accessible to all Wintec students and staff.

A traditional marae might have been restricted to traditional uses, whereas the modern approach meant the facility could be more widely used.

"We're an institution that looks to the future," Mr Flowers said.

Wintec had had a small whare which had been removed when the hub was built, but it had always been the intention to build another Maori facility.

"I think some people may have been a little surprised by the different style but the feedback this morning has been positive."

Te Kopu Mania o Kirikiriroa will be used by students, staff, and other groups including international visitors.

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- Waikato Times

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