A tired tourist attraction in Kerikeri is being reborn as a living cultural and educational centre by local hapū Ngāti Rēhia.
For more than 50 years Rewa's Village, a replica 18th century Māori fishing village, has crowned a ridge directly across the river from the Stone Store.
In recent years, however, it had looked increasingly rundown as the volunteers who established it as a fundraising project to save Kerikeri Basin from development struggled to maintain and update it.
It is now in the hands of Ngāti Rēhia who are redeveloping the site thanks to a $1.25m Provincial Growth Fund grant announced in June this year.
The attraction's new direction and new name, Te Ahurea, was launched by the hapū on Wednesday evening.
Kipa Munro, of Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Rēhia, said rather than a series of static displays Te Ahurea would be a living cultural knowledge centre.
''We'll have holiday programmes, carving workshops, raranga [weaving] workshops, wānanga for our own kids ... We'll really be bringing it back to life.''
One of the big drawcards is likely to be the waka being built by James Eruera, who learned from the late Sir Hekenukumai Busby.
The 11.5m waka was being carved from a kauri that fell in Ōmahuta Forest seven years ago.
Rather than being transported out of the bush on the back of a truck, the three parts of the hull had been adzed in the forest.
Munro said it was the first time that had happened since the great waka Ngātokimatawhaorua was carved more than 80 years ago.
Construction of a whare waka to house the canoe has started beside the river opposite the Stone Store.
Once Te Ahurea was fully up and running Munro envisaged waka tours up and down the river so visitors could arrive in Kerikeri the same way people did centuries earlier.
A mangrove walkway was also planned along with a pourewa (sentry tower) by the river, matching the tower at Kororipo Pā on the other side of the river, and expert Renata Tane was working on carvings to adorn the new whare.
''This is a place where people will develop their skills, including skills like administration and business management. We have a fantastic group of young people who've come home and want to do things for their people. When this is finished this will be ours and we can make it whatever we want to.''
Munro said the reinvention of the site called for the new name, which translates literally as "culture".
The name Rewa's Village could be left for the original site along the ridge across the water.
The hapū would replant the Discoverers' Garden, which had been created for the millennium but was also showing its age. A nursery and rongoā (traditional medicine) garden were also planned.
Munro said Te Ahurea would do more than showcase Māori culture.
''If nothing else it will instil a bit of pride in ourselves. This is who we are. One of the hardest things is to say, 'jeez I'm good, look what I can do'.''
Rewa's Village was built by the Society for the Protection of the Kerikeri Stone Store Area (Spokksa) to fund their legal battle to stop the land around the Stone Store and Kororipo Pā being turned into a subdivision. Bulldozing started but the group was ultimately successful, forcing the government to buy the land and turn it into a reserve.
• www.teahurea.co.nz, went live last week. The rebuilding is due to be complete by January 31 with an official opening on February 3.