Kōpinga Marae (meaning ‘Grove of Kopi Trees’ where Moriori would often hold large gatherings at Te Awapatiki), was opened in January 2005 by Prime Minister Helen Clark and a local Moriori Elder, Whaea Polly Brown.
It stands as a tribute to the Moriori ancestors who believed so strongly in their ancient covenant of peace that they were not prepared to break with it when their Islands were invaded in 1835.
The names of 1700 karāpuna (ancestors) are carved into the central pou (post) of the main whare as a reminder of their sacrifice.
The main design of Kōpinga is inspired by the five-sided basalt columns, where Moriori once made their adzes and other tools from the volcanic basalt. From the air the marae is shaped like an albatross in flight – a bird of great cultural significance to Moriori.
Today it is used as the base for the revival of Moriori language, cultural traditions and wānanga, as well as by the local community and schools for a wide range of community and local events and activities.
Visitors are welcome to visit Kōpinga Marae and hear more of the history of the Islands and learn about Moriori culture, but must first book as part of a scheduled group tour.
The Marae is also the central office space for Hokotehi Moriori Trust and working staff are not available to receive unscheduled visitors.
Thank you and Me rongo (in peace).