Monday, April 11, 2011

Meeting the Maori

The last Origins had some very interesting links with London's Maori community - including the powhiri pictured here - and this year we're really developing these in a big way - thanks to our collaborations with the City of London Festival and Heritage Lottery Fund. Over the weekend, Gabrielle and I went to New Zealand House to meet the Maori youth group, Te Kohanga Reo, and today I was back to chat with Ngati Ranana. As well as holding another powhiri - this time on Hampstead Heath and with real hangi food - they will also be involved in plans to bring a Maori war canoe, or waka, up the Thames.

Even more exciting is the Participation and Learning project, which Gabrielle is heading up with Carissa. This will link the younger London Maori to elders, as well as giving kids in lots of London schools the chance to learn a lot more about Maori culture, learn haka, waiata and poi (various forms of music and dance, since you ask!), and to build their own model wakas. The intergenerational oral histories are going to lead to a new website and an archive of Maori presence in the UK, which actually goes back to 1800, no less.

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