Australia's first marae gets the green light

Australia's first marae gets the green light
Photo credit: Newshub.

It's been three decades in the making, but Australia will get its first traditional marae. It will be built in a Sydney suburb, on Aboriginal land.

On Waitangi Day two countries and their cultures, Māori and Aboriginal, came together on sacred Aboriginal land.

It's a 30-year, 15 hectares and $4 million dream.

"When we first saw it, the majority of the board - we had to turn away we had a little bit of a cry," says Kiri Barber, from the Sydney Marae Alliance.

Barber has been fighting for it for decades.

"It's pretty cool, it's taken a long while to get to this point," Barber says.

It was first denied approval in 2017 by a Sydney council.

"They were concerned the Māori community had no link with the local area," says Cumberland Mayor Lisa Lake.

But history would tell you it has been a long time coming.

"[For] 230 years we've been a part of the Australian narrative," Barber says.

More than 150,000 Māori call Australia home, and 65,000 of them live in New South Wales.

"It's all about inclusiveness," Barber says. "We're excited about being able to materialise that not just talk it but perpetuate it."

The mayor signed a 20-year lease for the land.

"We're looking forward to seeing it. It's a remarkable design," Lake says.

In a country many Kiwis call home they'll have a place they can also now call their own.