Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairoa descendants are overjoyed they can do up their wharenui, while also attracting their rangatahi back to their marae, with more than $1.5 million from the Provincial Growth Fund.
The funding will support renovations on 19 marae across Wairoa, and it was unveiled in Wairoa today by the Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher Tabuteau.
Tabuteau said they would receive funding for landscaping, building repairs, electrical wiring, plumbing and painting work which was expected to create 133 jobs.
"That's a good way to invest your tax-payer money, to reinvigorate the communities, make sure there are jobs, make sure there's literally money moving through your communities so that those technicians, those electricians, those carpenters can put kai on their tables," he said.
Juanita Cotter from Rangiāhua marae said they would receive $50,000 in funding in order to restore the amo, or sides of the wharenui (meeting house) that hold up the maihi (front of the meeting house).
She said they are also doing up the heke (rafters of the wharenui) and the tukutuku panels, which have not been done up for over 40 years.
"I'm really rapt that we - and all the marae - got this fund because otherwise we wouldn't be able to do it, so we depend on funding like this to do jobs, especially these big jobs and I was rapt - I'm so rapt that all the marae have this opportunity."
Miriama Hammond from Te Rēinga, Pūtahi, Takitimu and Taihoa marae hoped the renovations would attract more rangatahi back home.
"I think it's going to be exciting for our marae and it's going to be helpful to bring back, maybe our young ones, so that they can become involved in the marae."
Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairoa general manager Sarah Paku said some of the marae were in a state of disrepair, with leaky rooves, and electrical systems that were so old they needed to be completely redone.
She said getting this repair work done would be huge for her people.
"Our marae are our centre of our universe so if they're strong, if they're dry, if they're serviceable, it's going to be great for our people."
The funding for the marae renovations comes from a $70m fund earmarked in May for the purpose of doing up public spaces like marae, town halls and Pasifika churches.