Te Aitarakihi Trust (the Trust) was formed under the Charitable Trusts Act 1957 on 14 December 1990. The Trust is the administrating body responsible for Te Aitarakihi Multicultural Centre (the Centre). The Centre is managed by the Trust which comprises of 7 Trustees and committee members. The Māori community of Timaru raised funds for the establishment of the Centre.
Te Aitarakihi Multicultural Centre was established as a place for all cultures, “Te Wāhi Karanga Mo Nga Iwi Katoa”. A gathering place for all cultures, all people, all communities, Māori and Pākehā, Polynesian and Melanesian, all cultures. A place to embrace the land. A place to be nurtured by the land. A place for hui whakangahau, a place for tangi, a place to take our sadness and our celebrations. It is a place for our children, for Rangatahi to stand tall, to be aware of their roots and heritage.
It provides a place for many cultural groups to meet and share their cultural experiences. Te Aitarakihi Kapa Haka roopū practice at the Centre weekly and the Centre is a base for a growing number of local ethnic and support groups including the Ba’hai faith, South Canterbury Indian Cultural Society, Sikh Sangat, Muslim Assoc along with other multi-ethnic and Pacific Island groups to name a few. The Centre is a host to school groups, youth groups and provide them with cultural education or accommodation when they are in town for events.
The Centre over the years has been run by volunteers made up of the Trust members, whānau and kapa haka roopū. Recently an Administration position was established to aid the advancement of the Centre into a self-sustaining business model and provide a regular and consistent presence at the Centre to facilitate the users and provide relief to the volunteers who have and continue to work tirelessly for the Centre.
The Trust is proactive in the community supporting most community events such as Relay for Life, Charity Bike Ride, EDC events. Kapa haka entertainment is provided on a regular basis to church fairs, elderly care facilities and sports events.