Marae History Project

At the heart of this research project is the Epsom Campus marae, Te Aka Matua ki Te Pou Hawaiki, which officially opened on 19 November 1983.

Forty years on, at the end of 2023, the marae and taonga from its wharenui Tūtahi Tonu will begin the move to a new site at the University of Auckland’s City Campus, along with the entire Faculty of Education and Social Work.

Ko Maungawhau, ko Maungakiekie
ngā maunga
Ko Waitematā, ko Manukau ngā whanga
Ko Tūtahi Tonu te whare
Ko Te Aka Matua ki Te Pou Hawaiki te marae
Ko Niwaru te waka
Ko Tuputupu Whenua te tangata

Staff welcoming students at Tūtahi Tonu, 2018
Staff welcoming students at Tūtahi Tonu - 2018

Our Project

The Marae History Project is marking this momentous transition by gathering archival material and recording stories of the people, whenua and events that coalesced to bring the marae into existence on what was then the grounds of Auckland Teachers College. At the time, it was only the second tertiary campus in Aotearoa New Zealand to house a marae complex.

Watch the unique archival short and longer film footage from the marae's opening in 1983 and its 20th anniversary in 2003.

The Epsom Campus wharenui was originally a used prefab. Its transformation into an innovative, knowledge-rich cultural entity came about through the efforts of novice practitioners, creative Māori leadership and generous donations of labour, materials and good will.

In the four decades since its opening, the marae has provided a haven for Māori students while also enacting its foundational vision of welcoming all students, staff and visitors to encounter and learn from te ao Māori. Over time, Te Aka Matua ki te Pou Hawaiki Marae has become a taonga in and of itself, an inextricable dimension of Epsom Campus’ identity.

Unlike hapū and iwi marae in the community, a marae within an institution cannot draw upon continuous intergenerational whānau connections in the traditional sense to help keep alive its stories and purpose. This research project aims to honour the marae’s whakapapa and the spirit behind its unlikely origins so that future tangata whenua, manuhiri, tauira and kaiako can continue to engage with, learn from and be nourished by its taonga and histories.

If you have archival material (images or documents) that may be helpful for the Marae History Project – Epsom Campus, please contact Hēmi Dale, or Rose Yukich.

Pōwhiri at Tūtahi Tonu for whānau of Te Puna Wānanga’s international students, 2015
Pōwhiri at Tūtahi Tonu for whānau of Te Puna Wānanga’s international students - 2015

Our People

Editorial Rōpū
Rose Yukich - Project Co-ordinator/Lead Researcher, Te Puna Wānanga
Hēmi Dale - Director Māori Medium Education, Te Puna Wānanga
Helene Connor - Head of School, Te Puna Wānanga
Tony Trinick - Associate Professor, Te Puna Wānanga

Specialist Advisors
Bruce Taplin
 - Marae Whānau Representative
Melinda Webber - Te Tumu, Faculty of Education and Social Work

The opening of Tūtahi Tonu, 19 November 1983

Watch the rare film clip below leading up to the opening of Tūtahi Tonu in November 1983, early in the morning before the crowds arrived. This one-minute footage comes from the TVNZ archives and was used in the regional news programme Top Half  that covered events from Tūrangi to the North Cape.

In 2003, to mark Tūtahi Tonu’s 20th anniversary, the TV programme Waka Huia produced a lively one-hour documentary highlighting the jubilee celebrations and the marae’s history.

Entirely in te reo, it features commentary from past and present tauira and kaiako as they were 20 years ago. (Video: 59.13 minutes)