Friday, 1 May 2009

Friday 24/04/2009 The Maori Experience

Again an early start off to Okains Bay for a special welcome to the local Runanga. Elizabeth Cunningham and Jo work together on the Health Board and Jo had asked her to help with this day and she did a fantastic job of incorporating all the elements I specially wanted, knowing Freddy’s special interest in the Maori perspective. We were accompanied by 6 Waimakariri Councillors, What was quite funny was we knew we had to sing a waiata after each of our speakers, so Jo had handed out song sheets and we all practiced in the vans and at Little River we all got out and had a combined practice in the carpark, much to the curiosity of the locals.
The welcome was started with a challenge put to us “the visitors’
Watching the young warrior descending down on Mayor Cardoen with his spear and the challenge ritual was quite frightening for those who were unused to this…….but a tremendous turnout from the Runanga (40 people)
Again excellent speeches including from there side by Nigel Hampton QC , Chairman of the Museum Trust ,and a very well known and respected Cantabrian who had already visited the exhibition …fantastic insight to what the exhibition and this visit meant to this community. Our waiata’s were very well received too.
After the Hongi, exchange of gifts, and the Mayor was presented with a special carved mask. Lunch was followed by a tour of the Museum by Murray Thacker…we were also given a special viewing of some cloaks including a one made of Kiwi feathers including the albino…simply beautiful.
I think the relevance of this visit was that this is a living Museum … we have seen the Waka at the Auckland Museum but to see the waka that is actually used often, made it special.
Jo made them all pile out of the vans at the hill top for a photo and a beer despite the very windy conditions and cold..not popular !!!!
A quiet trip home, then onto the meet and greet at the Kaiapoi RSA, well organised by President Kevin Brown. A very good turnout as it was Poppy day….

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