Students from the NZ Radio Training School were welcomed onto Te Tahawai Marae in Pakuranga this week.
The pan-tribal marae, which is situated on the grounds of Edgewater College, was originally built for after school care. It was converted into a marae when locals recognised the need for a place to have tangi.
The marae has been decorated using traditional kowhaiwhai and carvings. Te Tahawai is often used as a place to reinforce the values of Maori culture. Many different groups of people use the marae, such as school groups, family reunions and international students.
Everyone at the marae was extremely welcoming.
The hangi was prepared by the male students and a kaumatua from the marae. The girls helped in the kitchen for the preparation of dinner. The hangi was amazing, and I have to mention the steam pudding which was incredible!
We took part in many traditional activities and learned the meaning behind them, such as making poi, and then using them while singing waiata. Many laughs were had while attempting to play traditional stick games.
After the hangi, we all sat in the marae and recited our pepeha and shared with the class something that no one else knew about ourselves. It was a good chance to get to know the people in our class better.
One of our tutors, Ra, then told us about the maori version of the creation story, also about his own marae and how it differs to Te Tahawai Marae. The passion and connection that Ra has with the maori culture was inspiring and heart-warming to hear.
Throughout the whole trip I felt as though I had reconnected with Maori culture, as well as forging a new connection with Te Tahawai Marae. As a pakeha I began to feel the gap close between European and Maori culture, and realise that as a New Zealander they are one in the same, both different, both relevant and both worth looking after.
Gallery: View photos from the marae visit