Iwi struggle to meet cost of insuring marae

9:57 am on 7 November 2013

A Waikato kaumatua says the rising cost of insuring marae is becoming unsustainable, and future generations of Maori will have to make tough decisions about what to insure.

Earlier this year Te Puni Kokiri, the Ministry for Maori Development, said it would work to bring down the price of insurance for marae, some of which pay more than $12,000 a year in premiums.

Jack Cunningham says his Waipapa Marae in Kawhia is upgrading its whare and facilities to meet health and safety standards, pushing premiums for the building alone to more than $10,000.

Mr Cunningham says in the past, the runanga would just repair the building, but with increased regulations to meet it has to hire contractors.

That increases the value of the buildings, pushing up the insurance costs.

He says the marae cannot afford to insure the taonga inside the wharenui, and in a few years it may just get third-party insurance and not cover the buildings at all.