Marae do not operate by themselves. People run marae. When a kaupapa (occasion) happens whānau or iwi kainga (home people) will man the kitchen. They do the work to prepare and put food on the table. Their support is because of whakapapa. The mana of the manuhiri (visitors) is uppermost and ultimately the mana of their marae. Everyone pitches in to carry the load.
We were watching from a distance. A lone bushman was bent over his chainsaw. He tugged on the starter cord. The saw coughed. Another pull and it started, a throaty growl announcing that it was ready for business. Oddly, the noise seemed small. I felt the same. When you stand alongside the impenetrable wall of a pine forestry block, small is the right feeling.