Students get a taste of Maori culture

Students learn how to make a poi. Photo: Georgia Dunstan-Brown
Students learn how to make a poi. Photo: Georgia Dunstan-Brown

New Zealand Radio Training School students recently stayed overnight at the Te Tahawai Marae.

Te Tahawai Marae is located on the grounds of Edgewater College in Pakuranga, Auckland. The pan-tribal urban marae was developed in 1984 and fully completed in 1996.

Te Tahawai welcomes people of every culture to visit. It is used often for educational purposes and provides opportunities for sharing Maori customs and traditions.

For many students in the group, it was a first-time experience being on a marae.

The visit started with a powhiri, welcoming the students onto the marae, and was followed by a variety of speeches and songs.

The boys helped prepare the pit for the hangi, while the girls peeled all the veges.

While the food was on the go, students enjoyed an afternoon of typical Maori traditions. They learnt how to make a poi and recited a couple of Maori songs which were accompanied by pois and sticks.

When the hangi was ready, the dining hall was silent as everyone tucked into a plate of delicious kai.

The rest of the evening was filled with tales of Maori legends, as the students listened from the comfort of their sleeping bags.

Many students spoke of the marae being so “welcoming” and that “the people were really friendly”. Sentiments that illustrate why the students felt so at home at the Te Tahawai Marae, and that it would be an experience they wouldn’t forget.

Watch a video of the experience below:

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Georgia Dunstan-Brown
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