‘They’ve desecrated that area’: Driver does burnouts at north Auckland marae

The community of a north Auckland marae are especially feeling disrespected and “hurt” after drivers took to their grounds to do burnouts yesterday.

The incident occurred at Te Aroha Pā Marae at Makarau east of the southern side of Kaipara Harbour at 2.01pm.

Security footage shows three Mazda mx5s drive onto the marae property. Two remain in the carpark while one flippantly drives their vehicle through the waharoa (entrance archway) and onto the ātea (courtyard) to do skids.

“It’s one thing to have done it on the carpark, it’s another thing to have deliberately driven through our waharoa onto the marae ātea, the ātea is a very sacred place for all marae,” said Te Aroha Pā marae trustee Margie Tukerangi.

Tukerangi said the incident has been reported to the police and efforts are being made to identify the offenders.

Police confirmed they have received the report.

The trust was made aware of the incident from a local family of the marae. They had heard the cars doing burnouts and ran up to the marae, their presence startled the drivers who then drove off.

Tukerangi was unsure of the degree of physical damage to the grounds.

“The greater damage is the absolute disregard to our marae, and it is offensive to Māori culture. The display of disrespect is beyond words and pierces the manawa (heart),” she said.

“They’ve desecrated that area, it’s not just a lawn for us and it is not just a yard – that is our marae ātea – where rituals and sacred proceedings occur.”

Tukerangi explained that tikanga (Māori customs) of pōwhiri (formal welcome) is to be carried out before any manuhiri (visitor or guest) walk through that waharoa and onto the ātea before proceeding into the marae.

She assumed that the driver had not comprehended fully what they had done.

“The security footage shows it’s obviously deliberate what they’ve done but whether that’s ignorance or racism is to be determined.”

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