A 23-year-old Northland man has fronted up to a community meeting in a bid to put right his wrong of damaging their marae before making his first court appearance.
Just a few hours after being charged by police at Whangārei Police station the man was back at Te Puawaitanga Marae in Ōtangarei before a meeting of about 30 community members on Tuesday afternoon.
Some of the 30 people gathered were angry at the damage done to their marae but the outcome of the meeting was good and would help not only the man involved but the community, chairwoman of the Te Puwai Tanga Hou trust Zona May Heta said.
Three photos of tupuna - ancestors - were damaged and holes punched into the walls of the marae on Monday night abut 9pm. The front door was smashed.
The man - who faces a charge of burglary and is to appear in court next Tuesday - had gone back to the marae as members of the marae were in clean-up mode and was then spoken to by police.
Heta said the man and his family were at the marae yesterday following the community meeting and were repairing the holes in the wall.
"The meeting wasn't just about restoring his wellbeing but for his whanau and the community. He apologised to everyone but he needed to sit down and listen to the people, especially to the families who had their photos damaged," Heta said.
"By no means were the community happy but we were needing to discuss reparation and how that would look. In the end everyone agreed that he had to come back to the marae every day."
Yesterday he helped remove the rest of the photos from the marae walls as two women explained, one by one, who was represented in the photos and their link to the marae.
"He needed to know all the families who were raised here and the founders of this marae."
She said the man was also offered the support of services that could be accessed by the marae.
"The choice is now his to make," Heta said.