As written by Forster and Ratima in 1997
Traditionally, a Marae was the space or area in front of the meeting house. In contemporary times this definition has been extended to include the entire complex, all of the buildings and the grounds that are associated with the meeting house. The Marae provides a central point for the local Māori community and an environment where Māori cultural practices are the norm.
Marae-based programmes can offer a unique environment to improve health and reduce harm - programmes can enhance access to te ao Maori (the Māori world) by emphasising tikanga, whānau and a holistic approach to health.
It is also believed that Marae-based programmes can:
- address access barriers to getting help
- offer a more comfortable, social and relaxed environment to talk about issues
- strengthen the mandate for action by the community and so enable empowerment and control
Many Marae-based programmes are already in place throughout the country - to reduce smoking, improve healthy eating etc.
Alcohol and the Marae
Pre-European Māori were one of few societies NOT TO have manufactured or used psychoactive substances. Early Māori petitioned Parliament for the total prohibition of alcohol.
Many Marae have taken strong action to provide a healthy and safe environment for all to thrive.
Both iwi-based or urban Marae have developed policies in relation to alcohol use at the Marae. Some have gone further and sought to identify persons and their whānau who may need support in relation to alcohol use.
Many Marae have placed a rāhui or ban on alcohol in the Marae.