Whanganui's Te Ao Hou Marae has a permanent resident and a lot more has been happening there in the past 16 months.
Geoff Hipango moved into the accommodation in October 2016. He left a job and is making the place his full-time commitment.
"I'm here for good. The urupa [graveyard] is my next move," he said.
He and cousin Debbie Te Riaki are trustees of the charitable Ngaurukehu Incorporation. They have big plans for the marae's future, as a centre for Whanganui Māori and the community in general.
They want to upgrade facilities, host more people and add a large slipway and gateway to the river.
Te Riaki said having a live-in resident was already making a difference to the marae.
"We actually have someone home again. The fire's burning, the jug's on."
Hipango joined a couch-surfing network and hosts young international visitors who want to experience the real New Zealand and meet Māori people. He's hosted Earlham College students, and indigenous groups from Hawaii, the United States and Australia.
The marae is available for use by groups. There is Wi-Fi and a kitchen where they can cook their own food. They either pay a charge, or give a koha.
River tourism operators are using it as a place for people to get an induction into Māori protocol and stay the night before a river journey.
Other tourism will be possible when a new bridge at Upokongaro links Somme Pde to the Mountains to Sea cycle trail. People could eventually be employed to host visitors, and Hipango could transport them in a water taxi.
Location of Te Ao Hou Marae
The cousins are saving up to improve the kitchen and ablution block, and add a roofed veranda facing the river and some comfortable "break-out" cabins. They want to have gardens for food and gardens of native plants used in rongoa (medicine).
They plan to be zero waste, harness solar energy, and offer the place for civil defence and charitable uses.
The area is part of a large block of land once owned by George Hipango. He made 3.5 riverside hectares available for the marae and kaumātua Henry Bennett helped establish it.
The land now has an urupa, Te Hunga Kawitiwiti Te Kohanga Reo, the marae complex, six kaumatua flats and three house sections.
It was once used by Ngāti Rangi people as a summer fishing and food gathering place, and still has strong links with Tirorangi Marae at Karioi.
The wharepuni, Te Puawaitanga, was built in the 1970s, with a dining room and ablutions block added later. In the 1990s it hosted a stone carving symposium and two waka regattas.