Milton’s Te Whare Puawai o Tokomairaro Inc has been honoured by the Clutha District Council with a community services award for providing a shared space promoting education, community support and cultural expression.

Te Whare Puawai is a community facility for all people within reach of Tokomairaro that brings whanau, businesses, and societies together to guide and support the passing on of matauranga (Maori knowledge) to future generations.

CDC observed there had never been a fit-for-purpose hub for whanau in Milton to facilitate wananga and kaupapa Maori activities until Te Whare Puawai’s trust bought a property to fulfil this vision.

The Spenser Street Whanau Community Whare Investment Project bought the former playcentre building at 34 Spenser St, Milton in July 2021, supported by a $36,000 grant from the Otago Community Trust.

Te Whare now caters to diverse cultures and hosts various activities enabling whanau to meet, train and develop cohesion through hui.

The space also hosts holiday programmes, kapa haka and mau rakau practices, celebrations, afternoon teas, conferences and access for families working through Oranga Tamariki and courts processes

Te Whare’s board employs people to run a weekly playgroup and relies on one person to oversee the maintenance and running of the whare, an asset to the Tokomairaro community.

‘‘I really appreciate all your kind words . . . which equally amounts to the hours of love and gratitude put into the Whare for our community . . . We are very grateful our community has embraced the focus, its purpose and the intention of the trust,’’ Te Whare’s Tess Puawai said.

‘‘This project will never be complete as the whare will forever be growing, teaching and learning from each other. We just wanted to say a huge thank you to OCT for taking the time to support our long-life dream to create a positive, learning and healing space.’’