Friday, April 19, 2013

Chinese and Maori to come together for celebration

Auckland’s iconic Orakei Marae will host the world’s first powhiri and festival to celebrate the many bonds shared by Maori and Chinese peoples on April 27th. "Orakei and Chinese families have lived and worked alongside one another for generations, it’s pretty special for us to be able to celebrate together," says Ngati Whatua Chairperson Grant Hawke. "Chinese and Maori peoples are coming together to celebrate a shared history and a shared future. We encourage all Chinese people to come along, especially to attend the cultural welcome," says Arthur Loo, Auckland Chinese Community chair. The Taniwha & Dragon Festival is the culmination of korero amongst marae leaders, Auckland Chinese community leaders and Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples. It starts with a Maori welcome ceremony or powhiri, where a huge dancing dragon leading the Chinese community onto Orakei marae will be challenged in a show of force by the massed warriors of Ngati Whatua. Speakers from the tangata whenua and the manuhiri will recount the ancestral and traditional ties between Maori and Chinese peoples, their historical relationships and hopes for a shared future, before the two sides greet each other face to face with a hongi. The festival that follows will feature traditional and contemporary Maori and Chinese entertainment, culture, craft and food stalls. At the heart of the Taniwha & Dragon Festival will be a workshop where traditional Maori and Chinese kites will be made and flown. In the run up to the festival some local schools have already been making and practicing flying their own kites. "As tangata whenua, it is Ngati Whatua’s role and responsibility to make all cultures in Auckland feel welcome. Maori and Chinese people share the same ancestors, but our cultures have diverged over many generations," said Mr Hawke. "We have lived side by side in Aotearoa for many years, and now we want to bring our relationships up to date, face to face and personal, and to celebrate our similarities and differences," he said. "Good relationships make our whole community stronger. As individuals, Maori and Chinese people have always had contacts - now is the time to take things to a higher level, culture to culture. "This powhiri and festival cements our relationships in accordance with our customs; we want to acknowledge our ancestral links, and encourage our neighbours to become personal friends and family, and to enjoy each other’s company," Mr Hawke added. Mr Loo said the Chinese community in Auckland is honoured to be the first to receive this kind of welcome onto Orakei marae. "We are very excited to be welcomed into the heart of the Maori community of Auckland. This is a unique opportunity to meet the tribal people who first invited other cultures to settle here, and to learn about our city. "All Chinese people who have come to New Zealand have brought with us our culture, history and traditions, and we are proud to be able to share them publicly on the marae and to feel they are welcome," he said. "Internationally, New Zealand is building bridges with China. Mutual understanding between our cultures here at home can be the solid foundation for developing business, educational, cultural and diplomatic links at the government level. "This festival is a chance to share our traditional food, dance, music and kite-flying, not only with Ngati Whatua, but with all Aucklanders who want to join our day of celebration. We hope this will renew the long and happy relationship between our communities in Auckland," said Mr Loo. Te Puni Kokiri, Fuseworks April 15, 2013, 1:18 pm

No comments: