30 May 2013

Maori leader in Western Australia plans to build marae

7:07 am on 30 May 2013

A Ngati Porou church leader living across the Tasman is planning to build a marae for the growing Maori community in Western Australia.

Kaua Te Rangi Tuhura, known to most people as Reverend Kuzie, moved with his family from the small East Coast settlement of Hiruharama in 2011 to Bunbury just south of Perth.

Since shifting there he has become a highly respected Maori elder and was ordained as a priest in the Anglican Church of Australia.

Reverend Kuzie says he is talking to members of the local Maori community about buying some land near his home, and is confident he will get the blessing of the Bunbury City Council.

He says he recently used his home as a marae to host a tangihanga (funeral), and has identified a need to establish a proper meeting place to accommodate hui and carry out traditional Maori ceremonies.

Reverend Kuzie says he knows he has the support of the local city council who have been very supportive of Maori events and often liaise with him on cultural matters.

Research findings released by a Maori migration expert, Paul Hamer, show Western Australia has had a big population boom of Maori people who are drawn to the state to seek jobs in the mining industry.

In the last five years the Maori population has increased by 85%, mostly in southern Perth and mining towns.