26 02 2010

I was privileged to spend the last three days (and two nights) at Orakei marae. I had only visited a marae once before (for work) and this was the first time I have stayed on one. I think it is a shame that most people don’t get the opportunity. Many of our group (most of whom are non-Maori and many of whom are from outside NZ)  found it an extremely moving experience. We were made to feel very welcome and frankly, you can’t beat the view.

I remember the Bastion Point protests being in the news when I was growing up so it was very interesting to see the progress Ngati Whatua have made since those days. We had a very busy few days – learning to weave harakeke (flax), play tradional games, make a toanga, sketch the beautiful designs of the wharenui, say our mihi and learn the haka (we ladies of course learned a different version to the men). Sleeping with over 150 men, women and children in the wharenui was a little outside my comfort zone but luckily all those years of sleeping through tropical cyclones on our camping holidays as a child came in useful. I slept like a baby. Others weren’t so lucky and really struggled. I felt for them. I am not a happy camper if I don’t get a reasonable amount of sleep.

I loved sharing this experience with my class (and the July intake). I think we all took a lot from it and will hopefully be able to pass it on.

It was especially nice to share it with my class buddies. We are smiling because we sneaked off to the Movenpick icecream shop in our free time. Yum!