Read what the newspapers had to say about the launch

An innovative marae-based project near Whangaroa was launched last Saturday 29th October at a ceremony attended by over 100 people including the Mayors of both the Far North and Rodney districts. The milestone event featured the unveiling of plans to create a range of community-based initiatives centred on an new marae design featuring the very latest energy generating and waste management technologies. The planned wharehui at Mangatowai replaces one that was originally on the same site early last century, just 1km east of Akatere on the Taupo Bay Road. 

"Mangatowai is a project that will benefit not just our local people, but the whole district and beyond", declared David Henare, kaumatua for Ngati Kahu ki Whangaroa. "Our kaupapa is everyone walking as one, whether they are involved in helping to fund or build the marae or coordinating one of the many other initiatives such as tour guiding in the Whangaroa harbour". 

Following the powhiri, Mayor Sharp praised David Henare for his vision and commitment. She noted that "One of the most compelling aspects of this far-reaching project is that it is an example of a community moving forward together. We obviously need more of these types of projects in the Far North particularly in remote areas that have much to offer and much to gain from sustainable enterprises managed by local people".

Far North District Council Mayor Yvonne Sharp and Kaumatua David Henare at the site of the new marae during the launch of the project

"Visitors to Northland are looking to meet and mingle with people who can provide unique authentic experiences based around the district's fabulous natural resources and rich cultural heritage", said Mayor Sharp. Responding to the representatives from Waipoua and Ruapehu also present, she noted that "Tour operators from elsewhere could gain from this project by way of mutual referral and a shared commitment to quality". 

"The significance of the Mangatowai project for Whangaroa, for the Far North and beyond is potentially enormous. It will be a shining example of innovation, determination and commitment that brings exciting sustainable benefits. Truly a project created by the people for the people", stated Mayor Sharp.

The Mangatowai project includes a range of linked proposals such as organic waste and solar energy conversion, sustainable food cropping, craftworks, and training schemes. The Mayor also commended Mario and Angela Grzinic from Kerikeri, for their technological and architectural inputs. "These very new residents have already generously given their time and efforts towards the project. Their contributions clearly show the benefits of attracting skilled, resourceful and well motivated people to the Far North", she said.

The Mayor encouraged the project champions to forge strong relationships with those agencies and institutions that can help realize the proposals. She also emphasised the need for good governance because of the multi-dimensional nature of the project. 

Rodney Mayor John Law also congratulated the project organisers and commended the Council for supporting the project. "I will be following the project with great interest as such initiatives could well be emulated in the Rodney district. The success of this project is assured as it has all the right ingredients" he declared.

"I'm overwhelmed by the initial support we are gaining for the Mangatowai project. We need to build on this momentum and work together over the months ahead to prioritise and progress each facet of this project", states David Henare.