Papatūānuku Kōkiri Marae

Certified Organic Vegetables

At the market: Every Sunday in the Carpark

Contact: Lionel Hotene

Call/text: 021 293 4891



Re-purposed food/fish:

Instagram: @kokirimarae

Facebook: /Papatuanuku-Kokiri-Marae

During COVID closures: Not available

Lionel's Story

Lionel Hotene can be seen most Sunday mornings at the Grey Lynn Farmers Market selling produce from the organic gardens of Papatūānuku Kōkiri Marae, in Māngere.

What is your iwi?

I’m from Whakatane, I’m Ngāti Awa.

And what about this mārae?

This is an urban mārae rather than an ancestral mana whenua mārae. It was started in the mid 80’s by Nanny Mere and some aunties who were part of the Wai 262 flora and fauna claim to the Waitangi Tribunal.

What was their kaupapa for starting the marae?

Kūmara – it was all about the kūmara. They started off with seven strands of kūmara that they were trying to preserve and now the garden grows so much more than just kūmara.

What happens to the wonderful vegetables that you grow?

Mainly, we give then away to the community – there are a lot of hungry whanau who we provide with nutritious fresh food. They give us a koha, if they can.

I hear that it’s not just vegetables that you give away.

Yes – we also run the Kai Ika project. It was set up when we were approached by LegaSea and the Outdoor Boating Club when they were looking at how to manage fish heads that their members thought of as waste. We don’t see waste, we see excellent kai. Moana Pacific is currently our biggest contributor. We have a specially built processing station refitted from a container (donated by Royal Wolf). The fishy water from cleaning the processing station feeds our gardens – there is no waste.

We let our community know that we have fish and they come and collect it, along with fresh vegetables.

And that’s not all you do for your community

We love being a part of this community – there’s such a wide range of cultures in our neighbourhood. We’ve had about 7,000 school children from local school including the Medina Muslim school for girls. And twice a week, we run te reo courses.

What are you planning for this year?

Something very exciting – in October or November we’ll have a Fire Festival with music, food, fun and of course fire. This will be something new for us and the community. Hopefully, it will raise some funds to run the mārae bring people together.

And we are developing a website thanks to an Auckland Council digital funding grant.

What a lot of work! How do you cope?

We love this mahi so it doesn’t always feel like work. But we also get Woofers* in to help. They are hard workers who are wanting to learn not just organic farming skills but also learn about our indigenous culture. They love the range of experiences they get here, including visiting Grey Lynn Farmers Market with us.

*Woofers are Workers on Organic Farms

How is all your good work funded?

We rely on the generosity of sponsors, funding grants, and of course shoppers at the Grey Lynn Farmers Market. Recently we also set up a Give-a-little page – every bit of support helps.

How come you have a presence in Grey Lynn?

One of the market regulars from Grey Lynn came to a horticulture course and persuaded me to give it a go. I was doubtful about it at first, but I have been surprised at how enthusiastic Grey Lynn is about our produce. We quickly developed a loyal following and we love the sense of community there.

As published in Ponsonby News : June 2020