News Release

Fresh Paint Adds Colour to a Community Friendship that Goes Way Back

"This help is truly a gift"

Members and friends of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in South Auckland completed the first phase of a project on Saturday, 4 March, 2023 at the Ngā Whare Waatea Marae in Mangere.

According to Wikipedia, a marae (in New Zealand Māori, Cook Islands Māori, Tahitian), malaʻe (in Tongan), meʻae (in Marquesan) or malae (in Samoan) is a communal or sacred place that serves religious and social purposes in Polynesian societies.

Volunteers provided a new coat of paint to the marae’s buildings while cementing a historical relationship between the Church of Jesus Christ and the marae.

"This help is truly a gift, to have the assistance of the Church community to come in and provide this support and service to us," said Manukau Urban Maori Authority Chief Executive Officer, Tania Rangiheuea. "Most of our people-power at the marae is stretched thin, and some of these maintenance issues get crowded out by some of the more immediate issues.

Men of the Manukau Stake get down to the business of painting at the Ngā Whare Waatea Marae in Mangere, New Zealand, 4 March 2023.© 2023 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

"We are so grateful for this wonderful gift of service to us."

The histories of the marae and members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in this area are intertwined, thanks to the efforts of Papakura church member and the first chairperson of the marae, Brian Joyce.

Rangiheuea said that in the 1980’s Joyce had requested property from the government on which a marae could be built, but it was a struggle getting recognition of the request.

She said he went to Wellington and explained to government representatives the benefits of the project to the community. “He was so well respected that they gave it to him,” Rangiheuea said.

The service project carried out by local church members, addressed a long-standing need at the marae. Tagaloa Sonny Samuela, of the Church’s Auckland communication council, said the administrative buildings on the marae, many crafted from former shipping containers, were in definite need of painting.

“We saw a need, and working with the Manukau congregations, we were able to get this group of men, many of them professional painters, to come in and take care of it today.”

Local Latter-day Saint leader, Sinamoni Fenunuti, said the church community was happy to get involved in this project, particularly with this marae. “In the Church, we’re very happy to help our fellow men, especially to build relationships with others in our community.”

“In the last couple of weeks we’ve seen a lot of flooding and other problems,” Fenunuti added. “So, it's good to have our communities come together, and to strengthen that relationship between the Church and marae as well.”

Fenunuti said it was easy to find people who had the skills needed to carry out this project, and who were willing to make this difference in the lives of others. “We told them about the project we needed to do and none of them hesitated—they wanted to make sure the work was done, and done right," he said.

“It’s so inspiring to watch them get stuck into this project, and to get this phase of things completed today. Its just a wonderful thing!” Fenunuti said.

Style Guide Note:When reporting about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, please use the complete name of the Church in the first reference. For more information on the use of the name of the Church, go to our online Style Guide.