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Major step in developing marae's potential

Business Manager appointment a major step in developing marae's potential

The inclusion of the unique Auckland Airport Marae, Te Manukanuka o Hoturoa, in the lives of New Zealanders and international visitors has taken a major step forward with the appointment of Zella Morrison-Briars as the marae’s business development manager.

Ms Morrison-Briars, who is of Ngati Maniapoto, Te Arawa and Ngati Rarua descent, has been a strong supporter of the marae since she joined the Airport Marae Charitable Trust in 2005 as a project manager to help create an educational and cultural setting at New Zealand’s airport gateway to the world.

“I am passionate about marae and Maori communities and have been involved in Maori initiatives to support employment and to contribute to Maori economic development,” Ms Morrison-Briars said.

“Zella’s in-depth background and recognised skills in marae development, Maori business initiatives and mentoring, cultural tourism and hospitality make her the ideal person to develop the airport marae’s potential,” Auckland International Airport Limited chief executive and marae trust chairman Don Huse said today.

"AIAL has valued her expertise in recent years in establishing the marae while project manager with the marae charitable trust. We are delighted she has accepted the vital role of progressing the inclusion of the marae into the lives of the airport and wider community and developing its potential as a national showcase of Maori culture to tourists at New Zealand's gateway airport.”

The marae near Tom Pearce Drive is the first to be built at an airport and is different to any other in the country, being a partnership between the local tangatawhenua –Tainui - and a corporate entity, Auckland International Airport Limited. It was blessed with the name Te Manukanuka o Hoturoa in a traditional dawn ceremony in November 2006 in the presence of Maori King Tuheitia and respected Tainui kaumatua.

The marae had its formal beginnings in March 2003 when the Maori Queen, the late Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu ONZ, DBE, and the late Bob Rawiri, chairman of the Nga Marae Toopu (Tainui Marae) signed a Memorandum of Understanding with AIAL representatives for its establishment.

Part of Ms Morrison-Briars’ role, as part of a small team, will be to build relationships with potential users of the marae. Within Auckland these include government agencies, private companies, the local and Maori community, and schools.

In the nine months since its opening, Te Manukanuka o Hoturoa has been used by a variety of groups, including sponsors hosting business associates, school and church groups, and Te Wananga o Aotearoa teaching te reo Maori.

“The marae has also been enriched through its use by people who have lost their loved ones. We have had families gather here with their loved one prior to their departure to their tribal areas,” Ms Morrison-Briars said.

“The marae is a place to support each other during times of grief, to learn and share Maori history under the tikanga and protocols of Tainui kawa, and to celebrate occasions in a marae that is the cultural heart of the airport.

“The marae also offers a wonderful opportunity to welcome people into our country. When visitors first arrive in New Zealand and want to know about our people, here is an accessible place for them to see and learn a little about our Maori history.”


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