by Ra Hippolite, Kaiwhakahaere Kaipakihi (Business Support Manager)
It was a dark morning on the 19th day of February when we arrived in Queen Street Waimeha at 5:15 in the morning. Thoughtfully Sonny had arrived with Aunty Hera cloaked in a yellow vest so we could find him. We were asked to wait for the karanga of the first manu which would indicate the start as the next karanga we would hear would be Aunty Hera as she called to the whare and those tangata that had turned up to tautoko.
As a rōpū we entered and rubbed some of our mauri inside the whare whilst singing waiata and karakia led by Paora Mackie. When we had all returned to inside the entrance, speeches were made by Tangata whenua and Rangatira ki te Tau Ihu. We were also blessed to have the kaiwhakairo Timoti Moran and his son Connor present. Timoti gave us his kōrero on the whakairo and kowhaiwhai pattern on the windows.We finished the speecehes with a karakia and waiata before we went back to the wharekai that was now teeming with parakuihi. Thank you to te rōpū waimeha wahine who had prepared nutritious kai so we could make ourselves and the whare noa. Tu meke Te Piki Oranga!
A big thank you also goes to Aunty Hera, Paora Mackie and the manuhiri who attended this event. We also would like to thank our landlord Network Tasman especially Kerry Haycock and Amy Chetham for choosing our organisation to lease this space and thank you also goes to PC Systems and our Project Manager, Brent Rogers of Rogers' Building Contractors for managing all our building requirements and all the subcontractors (Andrew Lawson - painter, Rob Cooper - plumber, Best & West, Rowan Dron Electrical and Ceiling & Interior Systems). Tu meke ki te mahi.