19 Mar 2013

700 marae visited for new database

7:03 pm on 19 March 2013

A team setting up a database of principal ancestral marae throughout Aotearoa has now visited several hundred pa.

Researchers have just finished calling in on marae on the West Coast, as part of a project that's been running for four years and has visited about 700 marae.

The work is being done by Te Potiki National Trust - which is running a website called Maorimaps.com.

One of the site's aims is to link Maori youth living in cities and towns with their ancestral identity.

Trust chairperson Paora Tapsell says he's been struck by the rich history on every marae.

He says he would not have anticipated the diverse range of marae throughout the country.

Professor Tapsell, of Otago University, says the network of marae is an incredibly unique part of nationhood that all New Zealanders should be proud of.

He says there are so many marae that have a character that expresses their identity to their particular landscapes, ancestors and descendants.