Uncertain future for Tangoio Marae following chairman Hōri Reti-Kaukau, Hastings Mayor Sandra Hazlehurst's social media comments

Insurance assessors are yet to assess whether Tangoio Marae will be demolished.

Descendants of Tangoio Marae gathered for prayers and a traditional ceremony on Thursday to retrieve taonga (treasures) in their wharenui (meeting house) Te Pūnanga o Te Wao. 

The taonga uplifted included traditional carvings and photos of loved ones.

A spokesperson for the marae told Newshub that disinformation spreading on social media about the demolition of the marae has caused an outcry for many of the descendants of the hapū and wider iwi of Ngāti Kahungunu.

Positioned 25 kilometres north of Napier, the wharenui - meeting house, was affected by Cyclone Gabrielle with the floors inside coated in knee-deep silt.

The area along with Esk Valley is currently being evacuated as more heavy rain and thunderstorms are forecast for Hawke's Bay on Friday afternoon.

Several buildings at Tangoio Marae are waiting for insurance assessors, so marae trustees can then evaluate the situation and inform hapū descendants.

The spokesperson told Newshub that the whare kai - dining hall, Tangitū and wharemanaaki hosting house - Maungaharuru are regarded as unsafe to enter while the Pūnanga Te Wao Te Kōhanga Reo - the Māori language pre-school - are currently the only buildings safe to go inside and extract things.

Newshub understands on Sunday a meeting was held to make retrieving the taonga inside the marae a priority.

Footage on social media showed a group of descendants in the marae ātea - courtyard in front of the mahau - verandah/porch singing and wailing during the traditional ceremony before retrieving the taonga.

The hapū of Marangatūhetaua (also known as Ngāti Tū), include Ngāi Tauira, Ngāti Kurumōkihi (formerly known as Ngāi Tatara), Ngāi Te Ruruku (ki Tangoio), and Ngāi Tahu.

In a Facebook post on Wednesday showing a video of Tangoio Marae, chairman Hōri Reti-Kaukau said: "It doesn't look good whānau, it's likely that we would have to pull them down." 

On Thursday, Hastings Mayor Sandra Hazlehurst attended the ceremony with Māori ward councillors.

"Today myself and our Māori ward councillors Renata Nepe, Kellie Jessup and Ana Apatu joined together with the hapū of Tangoio as they said farewell to their meeting house Te Pūnanga o Te Wao which will be demolished as a result of the cyclone," Hazlehurst wrote in a Facebook post.

"It was a poignant scene today as whānau removed their photographs from the whare and prepared to dismantle its carvings.

"My thoughts are with Hori Reti and the trustees of the marae who have had to make some tough decisions on behalf of their hapū."

Newshub has contacted Tangoio Marae chairman Hōri Reti-Kaukau for comment.

Uncertain future for Tangoio Marae following chairman Hōri Reti-Kaukau, Hastings Mayor Sandra Hazlehurst's social media comments