In September 2005, fire damaged the dining room, Ngaparetaihinu, at Tukorehe Marae, Kuku, Horowhenua. With the support of the New Zealand Fire Service Commission, Te Iwi o Ngāti Tukorehe Trust undertook research with whānau within the area. “What is the potential contribution of cultural identity and well-being to the development of marae fire safety culture and plan?,” was one of the key research questions.
What emerged during the research was that a fire safety culture and plan was important not only for the preservation of the physical assets of the marae (buildings and artefacts), but also for the protection of social and cultural practices – tikanga (custom, tradition), kawa (marae protocol), whanaungatanga (kinship, relationship) – that are integral to who Ngāti Tukorehe is as a people. It was specifically linked to manaakitanga (iwi/marae hosting responsibilities), going beyond simply feeding guests within the wharekai but being linked to multiple activities that occur on the marae, all of which have related safety practices associated with them. If one views fire safety within a context of manaakitanga or as part of iwi hosting responsibilities then a fire safety plan and building of a fire safety culture is one way in which iwi give effect to manaakitanga.
You can find the report entitled: ‘Te Ahi Kaa – Keeping our Marae Safe from Fire: Building a Fire Safety Culture,’ on the New Zealand fire services commission’s website HERE
Contributed by Nan Wehipeihana
Kamariera, F., Wehipeihana, N., Paipa, K., & Bevan, K. (2011). Te Ahi Kaa – Keeping our Marae Safe from Fire: Building a Fire Safety Culture. A research report prepared for the New Zealand Fire Service Commission by Te Iwi o Ngati Tukorehe Trust. New Zealand Fire Service, Wellington.