Te Pātaka - Te Hiku Hauora

The Innovation: Oranga Marae

From 2010 through to 2012 Te Hiku Hauora sought to utilise existing Māori ‘spaces and places’ to influence and drive Marae Hauora aspirations. Local marae were engaged in the Oranga Marae innovative project over this period, alongside Te Hiku Hauora’s Health Promotion team. Each marae designed a hauora plan that outlined their respective hauora priorities and this plan formed the basis for the delivery of the Oranga Marae programme for each marae.

This video clip and its accompanying presentation is the story of how the bonds of whakawhanaungatanga were strengthened as each marae actively engaged in its own hauora journey: whānau coming together to inspire positive, effective hauora goals. 

Te Hauora o te Hiku o te Ika Trust – Oranga Marae

Kauhanga Marae



[Te Whetu Natana] Kaati ra te iwi, i heke ahau i raro hoki nga kawaitanga o Ngapuhi, Te Rarawa, Waikato o Ngati Kahu.  Ko taku ingoa, ko Te Whetu Natana.  Etahi o nga kaumatua o tenei marae, Te Poho o Ngati Kahu.  No reira, tena koutou.

[Un-named 2nd person – wahine] (Haiti-Tai Marangai): Kia ora, I’m from Whatuwhiwhi Imperia.  My marae are Kauhanga and Haiti-Tai-Marangai.

[Ngaire Tauwhara-White] Tena koutou katoa.  I, like the other two previous speakers, descend from Kauhanga here from Ngati Kahu, and of course our marae, Kauhanga.  My position here at the marae is the secretary of our Kauhanga Marae Committee.

How has the Oranga Marae innovation affected your marae?  And why did you do it?

[Ngaire Tauwhara-White] The initiative started in 2011.  I think one of the things from 2011 onwards we, as the first kaihapai, it was about just bringing our whanau back together again.  And also I think at that time we thought, right we’re going to have an event which was celebrating not only Christmas, but just the whanau that were here that time.  And we were able to purchase some fruit trees.  And you’ll see around the marae, and even at some of the homes within the community here, that they’ve actually started growing their own fruit trees.

I think also that we’ve become more aware of eating healthy, or what we get, especially when we have boil ups.  You know, it’s all about that ngako aye, the ngako that’s very sweet, for some people aye uncle…

[Uncle Te Whetu Natana] Ae… kia ora

[Ngaire Tauwhara-White] But it’s about taking that off and you can still have a really nice boil up.  But you can just take that ngako off and you can still add the veges, like ruruhau, you might see the old ruruhau around here.  And just put it into our kuhua for a boil up aye tatou ma, yeah.

(Tama performing haka)

[Un-named 2nd person – wahine] (Haiti-Tai Marangai): Now those kind of conversations we have as a whanau is more accepting because we’re all owning our own health issues that our little village here experience.  And I know from the initial research we did, we were high diabetes, high heart disease and things like that.  So we made a conscious effort to raise that awareness.  And now, there’s some of our whanau here, that we do more activities. 

One of the activities we did was “Hikoi ki te whenua”, and that allowed our whanau to walk up to our Pa, which is really significant for us.  And then ongoing from that we’ve got a cool group that do triathlons, do Iron Maori.  So there’s a whole lot of things happening.  We’ve got our aunties that are ex-nurses that are real pro around “no, we should stop smoking on the marae”.  And it’s all those key messages, but our whanau are more accepting to hear the message now.  So that’s the main thing.

[Te Whetu Natana] Recently we had a spate of deaths of our old people.  In the same year, we lost four.  And that came down pretty hard on our hinengaro, in our feelings.  These people here are driving that wedge.  They’re driving that thing to have a better body, better food, and sleep and all these sort of things.  And they’re the ones that driving it.  Me, I’m sitting on the side lines just looking after number one.

[Ngaire Tauwhara-White] And there still needs to be ongoing promotion and awareness because it’s about changing this whole lifestyle and the whole wellbeing, for the whole wellbeing of our whole whanau. 

Yes, we definitely recommend Oranga Marae to any marae who want to take on this challenge.  This challenge to “whakapiki te ora”, to uplift our own health.  I suppose in my case, I‘ve got young children and I’m over the age of 40.  And I wanna know that in another 20 years, I’m gonna be still here.                                                                                                

Te Paatu Marae


[Riki Rolleston] Kia ora everybody.  My name is Riki Rolleston and I’m from here at Te Paatu Marae.  I’m the secretary of the marae, that’s my role here.

[Un-named - wahine] Kia ora everybody.  I’m from Te Kotahitanga Marae.  I’m part of Te Paatu Marae as well.  I work in the kitchen.  Part of the whanau committee as well and also awhi in Te Kohanga Reo.

How has the Oranga Marae innovation affected your marae?  And why did you do it?

[Riki Rolleston] Okay I’ve been part of the Oranga Marae project right from the beginning, right through from the consultation that was initially held with several other marae around up here in the North.  And we were really fortunate as Paatu to be chosen.  And it’s done fantastic things for our marae here, especially in terms of our kitchen things; especially in terms of working with our tamariki; and just getting the feedback from the mothers about what they need and what things will help them, especially around like, physical activity and nutrition, those sort of things.  We’ve had really awesome days here with our mummies and our mokopuna. 

Well I think the number one reason is mainly so that we can live longer and be healthy so that we are here for our mokopuna, and we’re gonna be able to share part of their lives and be a part of their lives.

[Un-named - wahine] It teaches the mokopuna too, around health eating.  I mean, too many of our mokopuna out there are fed on rubbish kai.  And by coming and doing, you know, nutritional, healthy food for them it teaches them.  It gives you an awareness of healthy eating.  And we have to be really aware because the majority, in particular, of Maori that are diabetics is one thing that I’ve noticed through being a cook on the marae here. 

Well I think the main thing is having a balance rather than cutting out a lot.  It’s minimising some stuff, but the main thing is having a fair balance across – instead of just the fatty, unhealthy stuff.

[Riki Rolleston] And I think the other thing was about the portion size.  We’ve made sure like we’re always dishing out the meals, aye.  And actually the portion size has been cut down which is a big bonus.

(Tamariki performing Ka Mate, Ka Mate)

[Un-named - wahine] The other thing is what it’s created on this marae in particular, is like a community garden that the marae can share with our kohanga.  And it’s around salad vegetables mainly, and herbs and spices, that the children and whoever in the community wants to be a part of, is at the back there.

I don’t think we’ve had any challenges.  I think it’s just been a really good thing, rather than it being challenging.  It’s brought the people together.

[Riki Rolleston] And I think building on that one, it’s mainly about – it’s a shame that we can’t get a lot more of our whanau like, involved in it. I would recommend this to any marae throughout Aotearoa.

Te Paa a Parore Marae


[Mete Nomene] Kia ora, my name’s Mete Nomene.  I’m one of the trustees of this marae.  And we had the Oranga live with us for the last 18 months or so, and it was really awesome.

[Angie Keung] Kia ora, I’m Angie Keung and I’m the Chairperson for Te Paa a Parore and I’ve been privileged to be part of Oranga Marae.

How has the Oranga Marae innovation affected your marae?  And why did you do it?

[Angie Keung] I think we started Oranga Marae about 18 months ago, like Uncle said.  And it was an initiative that came from Te Hauora o te Hiku o te Ika, which is the Maori iwi health provider here in Kaitaia, or the one in the Far North.  It was panui-ed out to five marae and we put our hands up for it because the kaupapa was all about keeping our whanau healthy.

What changes have we made?  I think the biggest changes we’ve made is actually when we are preparing kai for our hui, whether they be a tangi or a celebration dinner – the types of food we prepare now.  Gone are the days where we use bulk cream with our paua and cream the trifles and all our sweets.  We’ve replaced them now with maybe fifty-fifty of cream and water, so reducing the fattiness of the cream.  And lots of fruit now on the table with our desserts.  And instead of pastries we have salads. 

I definitely would recommend this programme and this initiative throughout the rest of the country and to other marae.  It definitely is a motivator for our whanau and we’ve seen the outcomes in huge efforts from our whanau.


Haiti-Tai-Marangai Marae

[Un-named 1st person - tane] Welcome to Hai Ti-Tai-Marangai Marae.  These are the descendants of the Whanau Moana and Te Roroa Huri sub-tribes in Ngati Kahu.

How has the Oranga Marae innovation affected your marae?  And why did you do it?

[Un-named 2nd person – wahine] (Kauhanga Marae) The project started back in 2011 and we were lucky to have Nathan Morunga at the time.  He was really the drive for our marae out here in working with our whanau from Hai Ti-Tai-Marangai.  And as a result of that, he did lots of initiatives, lots of activities and we’re sitting in one of the products of what he started back in 2011.

[Un-named 3rd person - tane] Well for starters, since that project has been running I bike and run now.  I exercise quite a bit now, quite regularly.  And it’s done me a lot of good because it’s built up my fitness and all that.  And I’ve gotten more confident to run and bike now, so I do it quite regularly.

[Un-named 2nd person – wahine] (Kauhanga Marae) I think when we started, because our marae was quite old and in a lot of need of repair, it reflected in our whanau out here too because we kind of didn’t work together all the time very well.  Only certain whanau would come together.  But really what the Oranga Marae project allowed us to do was, rather than come to a marae for a marae hui – which none of the young ones even think of doing, or are interested in – we would do fun things like have a whanau day at the kura, have a whanau day at the beach. 

And when our kids come together and our whanau come together, they were asked the questions, you know, “what are the priorities, what are the things that you’d like to see out at the marae and in the community?”  So as a result of that, we were able to support the Kaihapai, who was Nath at the time, to create all these initiatives.  And a lot them were – a duathlon, training up to do wahine triathlon, tane triathlon, and the bigger goal was Iron Maori.

But on the way of doing something healthy and doing it together to support, we actually built the Hononga and we became a stronger whanau again.  So when it came to doing the DIY, it was just really easy to work together because the Oranga Marae project allowed us to work together on something positive.

[All] We believe that the Oranga Marae has brought our whanau together.


About Te Hiku Hauora

In Northland, Te Hiku Hauora is the largest Māori provider of general health practice services and the second largest Māori provider overall of health services. It employs over 160 people including General Practitioners, Dentists, a nurse practitioner with prescribing rights, Practice nurses, Mobile nurses, Health Promoters, Home support workers and administration support.


Te Hiku Hauora
49 Redan Road
Kaitaia 0410

Private Bag 2010

Phone: (09) 408 4024
Fax: (09) 408 4202
Website: https://www.tehikuhauora.nz/

Disclaimer: This page and the innovation it accompanies do not represent the views of the Ministry of Health. The views represented are those of Te Hiku Hauora Charitable Trust and the innovation piloted.

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