Planning Started: 1970s
Construction Started: August 2005
Completed: March 2007
From the 1970s onwards, the Maraenui community nurtured a vision of a marae based in their midst. That dream was realised with the opening of the Pukemokimoki Marae on Riverbend Road in October 2007 - an event that attracted more than 2000 people.
Most of Maraenui's population of 3000 are Maori, and Napier South and Onekawa, bordering the Napier suburb, also have a high proportion of Maori residents.
Many of Maraenui's Maori elders and leaders wanted the marae as a place to celebrate Maori culture and heritage and also to welcome other cultures. Unlike Napier's two iwi-based marae, this was to be more open to Maori who were not necessarily from Napier or whose ancestral links might not be Ngati Kahungunu.
Over several decades, various support groups undertook fundraising efforts, but the challenges - including the escalating cost of land and building - remained.
The Maraenui Marae Establishment Trust was set up in 1996 to rekindle community interest, secure funding and to focus on getting construction underway.
In 2000, the New Zealand Lotteries Grants Board and the Eastern and Central Community Trust each approved a grant of $100,000, on condition that the Napier City Council hold the funds until the trust could secure further funding and had the wherewithal to project manage the marae's development.
The Council worked closely with the trust, providing ongoing support and guidance in securing a site and constructing and fitting out the marae building. In 2005, the Council allocated $5000 for legal fees associated with the site and construction plans, and negotiated with other key funders for their financial input.
Later that year and with the Council's support, the Maraenui Marae Establishment Trust formed the Pukemokimoki Marae Trust to operate the marae, set future strategies and develop long-term systems for its support.
Council released a further $115,000 towards building costs in 2006, and this attracted further funds from charity trusts and Te Puni Kokiri. A hui involving the two trusts chose to name the marae after the fern which once grew abundantly in Napier - its sole Hawke's Bay habitat.
The hill where the fern grew was destroyed in the early years of the city's development. In a korero to trustees, Heitia Hiha, a kaumatua from Ngati Matepu (Petane marae), explained that soil was removed from Pukemokimoki to fill Te Whare o Maraenui (Napier South and what is now known as Maraenui). The marae site was part of this reclamation.
After the marae opened, the Pukemokimoki Marae Trust took over its operation and governance. Trustees include a representative of tangata whenua, a councillor (representing the Napier City Council's long-term investment) and community representatives with a specific interest in the marae. The original trust also brought its own skills set to engage with the community and develop the infrastructure.
Council's Community Development department provides ongoing support. In 2008, it gave a $5000 grant for financial systems and a further $5000 grant in 2009 for governance support.