By Kelvin McDonald of Maori Television
A national Fale Malae on Wellington's waterfront has taken another step forward with mana whenua and Pasifika leaders endorsing the proposal, a media statement released Saturday says.
Taranaki Whānui and Te Rūnanganui o Te Āti Awa have pledged their support, as have Te Rūnanga o Toa Rangatira and the Wellington Tenths Trust, the statement says.
"We stand united with our Pasifika whanaunga on this kaupapa, which recognises our joint heritage and common bonds as people of Te Moana Nui-a-Kiwa," Taranaki Whānui chairman Kara Puketapu-Dentice says in the media release.
As well as Taranaki Whānui, Te Raukura, Te Wharewaka o Pōneke chairwoman Liz Mellish says others have also shown their support.
"Both the Wellington Tenths Trust and Palmerston North Māori Reserve Trust have offered their support for the fale, which will be a civic space for international dialogue and a place of belonging for all New Zealanders," she says.
Fale Malae Trust chairman Adrian Orr says the trustees are humbled by the level of support for the fale, which will be located in the heart of Wellington's waterfront, near Te Papa Tongarewa and Wellington Museum.
He says the trustees have taken guidance from renowned Pacific artist Michel Tuffery and Wellington architect Fa'asalele Malo and commissioned Jasmax and AUT Associate Professor Leali'ifano Albert Refiti to provide a concept design for the Fale Malae.
"The stunning design is a contemporary expression of thousands of years of rich architectural history and will be a fitting tribute to the nation," Orr says.
Dame Winnie Laban, assistant vice-chancellor (Pasifika) at Victoria University, says the Fale Malae has been a dream for many years and will confirm New Zealand's identity as a Pacific nation.
"A Pacific identity is an integral part of our heritage and of our future, and we look forward to taking the next steps to make this long-held dream a reality," Laban told Victoria University in 2020.
The Fale Malae will support a wide range of community and educational activities, enhancing a highly used and much-loved waterfront precinct.