Marae ora, kāinga ora: A marae-led response to Covid-19

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Lee-Morgan, Jenny
Penetito, Kim
Mane, Jo
Eruera, Ngahuia
Author ORCID Profiles (clickable)
Conference Contribution - Paper in Published Proceedings
Ngā Upoko Tukutuku (Māori subject headings)
Tāmaki Makaurau (N.Z.)
Auckland (N.Z.)
New Zealand
South Auckland (N.Z.)
Marae Ora, Käinga Ora (MOKO)
Makaurau Marae (Auckland, N.Z.)
Manurewa Marae (Auckland, N.Z.)
Papaptūānuku Kōkiri Marae (Auckland,N.Z.)
indigenous delivery services
community development
Māori health
community health
housing in Auckland
homeless people
kaupapa Māori
community-based care
community-based participatory research
COVID-19 Pandemic, 2020-
Lee-Morgan, J., Penetito, K., Mane, J., and Eruera, N. (2022). Marae Ora, Kāinga Ora: A Marae-Led Response to Covid-19. In E. Papoutsaki and M. Shannon (Eds.), Proceedings: 2021 ITP Research Symposium, 25 and 26 November (pp. 169–182). Auckland: ePress, Unitec, Te Pūkenga.
Marae Ora, Kāinga Ora (MOKO) is a marae-led community development and wellbeing research project. Lee-Morgan et al. (2021) explain this three-year research project, stating: “MOKO investigates the potential of five marae to strengthen their provision of kāinga (village, settlement) in the contemporary urban context of South Auckland” (p. 2). Using a Kaupapa Māori (KM) approach to Community Based Participatory Research (CBPR), this project explores the ancient Indigenous innovation of marae (both a spiritual and physical location with a socio-cultural setting for Māori to be immersed in a cultural context) and kāinga to understand and co-create new culturally based initiatives and support the activation of community development and wellbeing initiatives. While marae are highly valued by Māori communities as being critical to cultural sustainability and are recognised by government agencies as important community providers, there is a dearth of research about how contemporary urban marae operate and how they can work with, and for, communities (Kawharu, 2014; Tapsell, 2002; Thornley et al., 2015). The MOKO research aim is to enable marae to explore their potential role within their communities, to develop their own interpretation and opportunities for kāinga. These insights influence opportunities to partner with external agencies and services to achieve greater outcomes and collaborative advantages for whānau (family group) and community wellbeing, alongside marae. In brief, the MOKO project is focused on the intergenerational sustainability of the knowledge systems and replenishment of resources inherent within marae, our natural environment and kāinga ora. Enabling marae, communities and stakeholders to be an active part of developing the solutions and coproduction of new knowledge and dissemination activities is a key part of this Kaupapa Māori research project and seen as critical if the research is to have maximum impact. Community participation is a prerequisite to understanding and enhancing community wellbeing and kāinga. In the MOKO project, the Marae Research Co-ordinators (nominated by the marae themselves) are pivotal members of the MOKO research team, and have become a strength and feature of the project. When Covid-19 hit Aotearoa New Zealand, forcing a national lockdown in March 2020, the MOKO research was already halfway through the environmental scanning phase of, and with, the five marae and their surrounding communities of South Auckland. During the lockdown, the research tasks of the Marae Research Co-ordinators (MRC) to engage whānau and identify their aspirations would prove to be challenging; however, they were ideally positioned to observe the approaches of each marae in responding to their local communities. This article will share insights to the resilience of the five marae throughout the adversity of Covid-19, showcasing the diversity of support provided to whānau in meeting the needs of their distinct communities, further demonstrating the adaptability of marae and some of the sustainable solutions in enhancing the wellbeing of marae and kāinga.
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