Update from the Chair of Tangoio Marae, Hōri Reti

Tuesday 21 February 2023

Kia ora rā e te iwi, kia ora rā e te Marae

This pānui is to update our whānau on the condition of our Marae and the progress we have made over the last few days. We know our whānau are anxious to hear about what is happening to our beloved Marae following the cyclone. I want to reassure you that there is a plan in place.

We have set up a kāhui with our kaumātua. A select number of whānau will join myself as Chair of Tangoio Marae. It includes whānau expert in key areas, who have been a major help on progress so far.

The priorities have been:

  • health & safety
  • cordoning off the unsafe parts of our Marae
  • earthworks to make access to Punanga Te Wao safe
  • recovering our taonga.

Progress & Plan

On Sunday, we met with engineers to show them through our Marae. There were some key points they made throughout that hīkoi (click here for more info). You may well know that there was serious damage to our whare kai Tangitū and whare manaaki Maungaharuru. They are unsafe to enter so whānau have cordoned those buildings off.

My heart goes out to whānau who have been asking when we can come together to clean up. I want to be straightforward with you, unfortunately this is unlikely to be a clean up, it is likely we will have to pull our buildings down.

Our whare tipuna Punanga Te Wao was safe enough to enter, so we began preparations for a small group to access the whare through the main entrance. Our whanaunga Taurus Taurima of Topline Contracting brought diggers in. They got through to the ātea today. There is still work to do, lots of silt to be brought out. We know whānau are desperate to help out, but the earthworks are being done by kaimahi with heavy machinery.

Nevertheless there is a safe path through to Punanga Te Wao so we can

  • start the process of recovering our taonga
  • remove them from the whare
  • take them to a safe place where they can be cleaned, cared for and restored if needed.

Whakamoemiti, Whakawaatea

I have spoken with Kaumātua, we would like to hold a whakamoemiti, whakawaatea, before the removal of the carvings takes place. That is likely to be on Thursday 23 Feb. We have to remove our taonga as soon as we can, to preserve our tipuna that align the walls of our whare. We will need all of Wednesday to create an access path through the silt and drain some of the water. We will have limited access to a small part of the Marae ātea only, the rest of the Marae is cordoned off.

Recovery of Taonga

The recovery work will be led out by Uncle Joe Taylor, who as we know was part of the original carving team of Punanga Te Wao. We are fortunate to have his skills, experience and knowledge of our whare tipuna.

Access to Tangoio

You are able to drive out, but there is a road checkpoint at the top of Whirinaki. It is run by locals who have volunteered to monitor the roads. Please be kind to them, they are just ensuring people are ok. Give them a wave and let them know you are going to Tangoio Marae.

Please be safe, especially if bringing our mokopuna out.

  • There are lots of heavy machinery and health risks.
  • There is very little parking, and the roads aren’t as wide as they would normally be.
  • There will be vans shuttling whānau from another parking area for Thursday
  • Please don’t rush out all at once.
  • But when you do come, don’t park where trees are above you – don’t park on the left side of road. The hillside is unstable, we don’t want trees falling onto anyone. We have put a call out to all our networks to say an arborist is needed to assess the hillside and minimise danger.

Please be mindful of the health risks:

  • the silt is contaminated with E.coli, giardia, toxins etc.
  • protection must be worn (masks, glasses, rubber gloves, and for workers steel-capped boots)
  • there is no running water, but there are hygiene stations with hand sanitiser
  • portaloos: at the front of Ross & Elaine Cook’s house, across the road from the back entrance of the Marae.

Whānau Awhina

The mahi at the Marae requires heavy machinery. Our manpower can contribute at:

  • the old urupā
  • whānau homes
  • maybe the Kōhanga Reo – but check with them first

Old urupā: diggers have removed a lot of the silt today from the front, but there is still a lot of silt inside the urupā that needs removing. Cleaning the urupā could be something that whānau can be part of, but please see the Health & Safety messages above as the silt is contaminated and there are other hazards.

Whānau homes: there is still mahi going on in our whānau homes. We have been channelling manpower support there. Our whānau who have lost homes have been amazing. They dropped everything and came out for days to help the community regain access first, before working on their own whare.

Any whānau with access to heavy machinery, would be well received – especially around our whānau homes.

Kōhanga Reo: there is access for Punanga Te Wao Te Kōhanga Reo whānau to the Kōhanga.

For whānau helping there is, at Ross and Elaine Cook’s house:

  • some PPE – personal protection equipment
  • hand sanitiser stations
  • some access to water if needed for cleaning (but no running water)
  • a gazebo to rest in
  • water to drink
  • kai to eat.

Remember whānau it is a work site so you need to follow health & safety guidelines. Click here for some more info.


The Marae is insured for floods and the Marae Trustees have been in touch with our Insurance Brokers. Following the removal of our carvings, our Marae Trustees will work with our insurance assessors moving forward. Once we get advice and the official report, we will be able to put the plan in place for the remainder of the Marae.

Ngā mihi

I’ve been asked what pūtea we have spent on the clean up. The answer is nothing. All of this has been aroha and koha from our local service providers. Nurses from Te Kupenga Hauora have been great. Seas up caravan came out – shout out to the Baker whānau for that amazing kai for our whānau and workers. Kai has come in by the truckload, it has been distributed right across the valley and up to Arapawanui. We thank all the whānau who have contributed, who have brought baking etc. Thanks to all for your for your kind words, your koha.

Higgins are here working to remove silt off the roads, please spare a thought for them too. They have done everything they can to help Tangoio.

It has been a collective, unified effort by everyone, thank you to EVERYONE!


Thank you for your patience, we understand that a lot of our people are hurting. Our cell tower in Tangoio is back online so we are able to be in contact now, and can be more proactive in answering pātai. I want to be as transparent as I can so if you have questions let us know.

Kahikatea tū i te uru (Strength in unity)

It’s a big road ahead. It’s going to take our whole Hapū, every single one of us to be united as one to rebuild our Marae. The expectation is that we will work together as a people. We will rebuild a sustainable Marae for future generations.

We’ll keep you updated on progress and ways our whānau can help.  For now, those of you who are affected by the cyclone – please take care of yourselves, your whānau and kāinga.  If you need any support, please reach out to Maungaharuru-Tangitū Trust 0800 TANGOIO / 0800 8264646.

In the meantime, below are links to more detailed information:

Ngā mihi

Our thoughts are with those whānau in the Esk and elsewhere who have lost loved ones, those that have lost homes or are cleaning up homes damaged by the floods.  Kia kaha, kia maia, kia manawanui.

A massive thank you for the support, prayers and aroha from kaumātua, whānau, neighbours, agencies and Maungharuru-Tangitū Trust for doing whatever you have done to help and support our Marae and community at Tangoio.  E kore e mutu ngā mihi ki a koutou katoa.

Piki te Ora!

Hōri Reti


Tangoio Marae

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