”Maniapoto leadership of Morehu Te Whare, Kingi Hetet, Koro Wetere, Daniel Te Kanawa, and many others, sought to create a positive future for their descendants. They envisaged that by investing in our whānau through cultural, social, educational, and economic development, it would lift prosperity, well-being, and strengthen cultural identity.”
Māori whānau and their Marae are at the centre of their communities and with the impact of colonisation and urbanisation, their identity, language, tikanga and kawa was in danger of being overshadowed by European influence and potentially lost unless there was a proactive effort to retain and strengthen these cultural values as an important and everyday part of whānau well-being.
The 1970’s was a historical turning point for Maniapoto, the “idea” of the Ngāti Maniapoto Marae PACT Trust began the revitalisation for Maniapoto whānau, a movement to establish a Marae based whānau collective that would rekindle whānau connectedness to their Marae and strengthen and maintain their many cultural values that are so critical to whānau well-being.
Maniapoto leadership of Morehu Te Whare, Kingi Hetet, Koro Wetere, Daniel Te Kanawa, and many others, sought to create a positive future for their descendants. They envisaged that by investing in our whānau through cultural, social, educational, and economic development, it would lift prosperity, well-being, and strengthen cultural identity.
In 1981, the Ngāti Maniapoto Marae PACT Trust was established (PACT an anagram for ‘Personal Annual Contribution Target’). A co-operative venture of Maniapoto Marae set up as an initiative to provide funds for marae development and maintain these critical cultural resources.
In 1986 the Ngāti Maniapoto Marae PACT Trust broadened its activities to provide support to whānau in structured training and education programmes working on Marae projects. Maniapoto Training Agency (MTA) now a New Zealand Qualification Authority (NZQA) registered and accredited education provider is the direct result of this development.
The Trust also recognised the need to support whānau with additional health, social and welfare services in our local communities. In 1992, the Maniapoto Community Services (MCS) was established.
The Trust has also worked hard and grown its resource capacity. In 1995 it began making strategic investments in farming, forestry, and commercial properties, all of which directly contribute to the much-needed sustainable resourcing of services for whānau that the trust support.
In November 2006, the Trust celebrated it’s 25th year and launched ‘Ngā Hikoinga o te Ngāti Maniapoto Marae Pact Trust’ which provides a glimpse of the eventful 25-year journey of the organisation.
Ten years later, in November 2016, the Trust commemorated its 35th year of operation with the launch of its second publication ‘Whanake Ake’. This coincided with the opening of the Maniapoto Cultural and Education Centre on the Trusts Kokakoroa property at Waitomo.
The journey and events that have supported Maniapoto whānau to establish its very strong community-based support system is a story longing to be told and must be preserved to provide ownership of an “idea” that has enabled Maniapoto to shrug off the negative impacts of European colonisation and embrace the positives to establish themselves as equal participants, partners, and contributors to many community development initiatives within Maniapoto.