Hita Neho is a man on a mission.
The new marae ora navigator at Murihiku Marae, Hita’s aim is to have the marae as an activity hub for the community.
“I want people to be able to say ‘I’m bored, I might pop up to the marae’.”
His role is a new one, brought about through recognition of the need to get whanau and the community more active.
But, Hita believes, it goes deeper than that too – it’s about helping the community feel connected to the marae, like they belong.
A self-described sports fanatic, he has high hopes for getting a range of activities off the ground at the marae – there are plans afoot for a Ki o rahi field, and he wants to introduce other activities too.
“Sports and activities, for me, are really really important.”
“There are lots of kids walking around with no purpose. I want the youth in here doing stuff. It’s about being connected with their community. I want them to have a purpose.”
It’s a cause close to his heart – as a teen he spent many hours at the Marae doing training courses and learning Kapa Haka.
“I basically grew up here. It’s what made me, me.”
He is hoping to transfer that love and respect to others in the community.
One of his first events is the upcoming Murihiku Marae Family Fun Day.
To be held on Saturday February 16, the fun day follows from last year’s highly successful inaugural version, but, Hita says, will be bigger and better.
Last year’s focus was about engaging with the community, and while this year’s event has a similar focus, it will also include a range of traditional Maori games such as Ki o Rahi (a ball sport teaching similar skills to rugby), Tu Kohatu (a traditional game involving stacking of rocks), and Rakau Toa, alongside the non traditional – sack racing, disc golf, three legged racing, a waterslide and face painting.
There will also be Kapa Haka performances from local high schools, and a powhiri for anyone that wishes to join in at 1pm.
“Last year was about getting the whole community here. This year it’s about introducing everyone to some more Maori games.”
People are encouraged to bring a picnic to the marae and enjoy the entertainment and games. Everyone is welcome.
The event will run from 10.30am until 2pm. In the case of bad weather, the event will be postponed to February 23.
Article added: Tuesday 12 February 2019