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AFS intercultural students from eight countries visit Waitangi

This diverse group of students were honoured when one of their group played the role of ‘Chief’ while being welcomed into Te Whare Rūnanga (Carved Meeting House) for the Cultural Performance.

He did a great job of facing the warrior and picking up the peace token before entering Te Whare Rūnanga for the show. After thanking the performers for their welcome, the ‘Chief’ shared a hongi with the warrior. A traditional Māori greeting, the hongi is done by pressing noses and foreheads at the same time. In the hongi, the ha (or breath of life) is exchanged, making this greeting very significant. What a fantastic memory for the young visiting ‘chief’!

Students were impressed that they all fitted on the giant kauri stump at the waka shelter which houses Ngātokimatawhaorua – the world’s largest ceremonial waka taua (war canoe). It is built from 3 giant kauri trees like the one the students enjoyed relaxing on. Guiding international students around is interesting as not only do they learn about NZ history and culture, we also learn about theirs!