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A $3.3 million complex with six new rental apartments, office space and a health clinic will open on Wednesday at the old Māori trades training hostel site in Christchurch.
"It’s the start of a new chapter for Rehua, aimed at bringing more whānau back to the marae to live,” said Te Whatu Manawa Māoritanga o Rehua Trust chairman David Ormsby.
"The apartments, office space and health clinic will boost to the social, cultural and environmental wellbeing of our Māori community – and community is at the heart of Rehua.”
"This style of living will allow whānau to be on urban marae grounds and engage in a wide variety of marae activities. Tenants will be mixed ages and can rent apartments at 70 per cent of the market rate," said Ormsby.
The six apartments are add to the four kaumātua flats that have been operating at the marae since 1987.
The redeveloped building will continue to carry the name Te Koti Te Rato, after the Wesleyan missionary from Ngāti Kahungunu who married Irihāpeti Mokiho of Ngāi Tūahuriri and lived at near-by Rāpaki for 30 years in the late 19th century.
"It’s an important connection for the marae and our community - it’s a testament to the mission work he did throughout Canterbury, Otago and Wharekauri and his support to the Māori population," said Ormsby.
Te Puni Kōkiri, which is the major funding partner, has committed $2.4 million to the project. The Department of Internal Affairs, via NZ Lottery Grants Board, has provided $350,000, the Rata Foundation $200,000 and the Rehua Marae Trust committed a further $330,000.
The original Rehua Māori Apprentices hostel helped young men in Christchurch to become anything from painters to mechanics and carpenters by providing cheap accommodation in a community based atmosphere. In 1952, the hostel moved to the present day site in Springfield Rd.