The manager of a Blenheim marae says a major renovation project later this month is giving iwi members the confidence to keep the marae running - just as their kaumatua did before them.
Omaka marae was built in 1987 and was a modern design at the time, but it's about to undergo a face lift as part of the Marae DIY series on Maori Television, after the marae applied to be on the programme.
Kiley Nepia says one thing that inspired the Marae DIY producers to select his marae was that, unlike other marae, Omaka hardly has any tribal elders to lead the community in cultural activities, and so the younger generation are being called on to fill their places.
He says for them it is about calling the whanau back home so they can reassure themselves that while they are bereft of kaumatua, there are younger marae and iwi members that are able to step up.
Mr Nepia says it gives his people the confidence to keep the marae maintained and keep developing it.