The premises occupied by Kōkiri Marae at 7-9 Barnes Street, Seaview was built as a U.S Army store in the 1940's.

The urgency of establishing Kōkiri centres resulted from creation of the  Tangata policy which identified that Māori customs and traditions were in very real danger of becoming extinct through lack of concerted development amongst an increasing Māori population who were entrenched in a non Māori social and economic environment.

There needed to be national initiatives to decrease the number of Māori mortality rate due to ill health, increasing numbers of Māori leaving school with little or no qualifications and opportunities, unemployment and lack of cultural knowledge and direction.  Central to this was the local gangs, who assisted in shaping the direction of Kōkiri, its services and its people.

The need to provide tangihanga services significantly changed the role and functions of the centre, as Kōkiri took on the traditional role of an urban marae, catering for whānau, hapu and all iwi, Kōkiri evolved from a Kōkiri Centre to become Kōkiri Marae.

Kōkiri Marae Seaview was the first Kōkiri Centre, a community based facility to address and confront these issues by conducting employment based training schemes in a Māori environment.  The schemes introduced Māori Culture programmes such as Te Reo, Carving, Weaving, Whānaungatanga and Whakapapa.

Kōkiri Marae moved very quickly from providing employment programs to not only taking on the customary role of a marae but to an organisation that now provides a holistic range of services covering the operation of Education, Te Kōhanga Reo, Social and Health Services.

As well as offering front line services, Kōkiri Marae has been influential in developing public policy through its involvement in national research initiatives submissions to the government.  Membership on national advisory bodies and working parties. 

Kōkiri Marae is known for establishing and piloting new initiatives or supporting in the development which now a autonomous of the Marae or are still affiliated.  Such as the piloting of Te Ataarangi,  Tangata and the establishment of the Kōkiri Marae Māori Women's Refuge, started with Kōkiri Marae and as the name suggests, still remains under its umbrella.  A major role in establishing and supporting the development of other organisations such as Tu Kotahi Māori Asthma Society, Naku Enei Tamariki (maori section), Mana Wahine, Te Ara Whanui Kura Kaupapa Māori, Paparakau Multi Cultural Society and Whai Oranga o Te Iwi Health Centre.

The advent of a shifting Māori population from all parts of New Zealand and accompanied by numerous tribal affiliations, the use of the marae ensured all Māori, including Pacific Island and Tauiwi always have access.


In the creation of a significant asset that provides a holistic community service encompassing education, health initiatives, cultural and spiritual values and aspirations, the people that contributed their time, energy and commitment should never be forgotten.  

When people talk of the work of Kōkiri Marae Seaview over the past 28 years there are many people past and present that this could be contributed to and to name them all would be difficult. Some of these include Kara Puketapu, in his role then as Secretary of the Māori Affairs for his vision in shaping the policies around Tu Tangata which was the genesis of Kōkiri Centres.  Dame Iritana Tawhiwhirangi for her foresight of these policies.

The Māori Women's Welfare League and in particular Bubby Turner for the ability to knit communities together.  Te Ataatarangi for firstly establishing themselves at Kōkiri Marae to reach Māori families in the urban centres.

The negotiating and building skills of ‘Pop Tuhaka’ and the driving force and determination of Keriana Whakataka Olsen QSM for her Leadership.  

Governance and Management

The premises occupied by Kōkiri Marae at 7-9 Barnes Street, Seaview was built as a U.S Army store in the 1960's.

Kōkiri Marae Keriana Olsen Trust management is based on collective responsibility and decision making by the Marae Whānau and includes the broader social, educational, economic and cultural links that it has created through its development in community affairs.

This form of people management is the governing characteristic of a Marae. It is whānaungatanga and will always be an integral ingredient of Māori culture. It allows the opportunity of a shared body of knowledge, values, ideas, customs, behaviour and language, which enhances the culture. There is a maximisation of group benefits with each segment participating, although maintaining its own autonomy within its activity. It recognises the valued contribution of thoughts and influences of all people, especially the Kaumatua and Kuia.

Kōkiri Marae Keriana Olsen Trust management is self-reliant. It manages its own affairs with deference, but freely accepts advice where it is available or sought outside the whānau unit.

Where groups or units are established to perform regulated duties at the Marae they will be given ample freedom or the opportunity to exercise controls or systems to ensure responsibilities continue unobstructed. However, where decisions are needed to be made within those groups or units, which will affect the economic, social, cultural, management or procedural interests of the Marae, decision making by whānau management will be used.

There is no limit on numbers, age, or any restriction based on a person's role or social standing at the Marae when whānau management is required to be made, except where confidentiality or matters of a private or sensitive nature are under consideration.

Kōkiri Marae Trustees

Martin Sterling (Chairman)

Tina Olsen-Ratana - Board Member

Star Olsen - Board Member

Daphne Williams - Board Member

Teresea Olsen - Board Member

Anlea Olsen - Board Member


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