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Japanese Students At Waitangi

September 21, 2023

Our Education team guided this enthusiastic group through Te Kōngahu Museum of Waitangi, where students viewed a film re-enactment of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi. They were fascinated by the tā moko (facial tattoos) of the Māori chiefs in the film, as tattoos are not a big part of Japanese culture. The Cultural Performance by our performing group Te Pitowhenua, was a highlight for students. The performance started with a traditional pōwhiri ( Māori welcome ceremony) in which their teacher played an important role as the Chief who had to accept the peace token on behalf of his newly acquired tribe (the audience).

Students were amazed by Ngātokimatawhaorua, the world’s largest ceremonial war canoe (waka taua), with its length of 35 metres and its elaborate Māori carvings. They enjoyed creating their own treasure to take home by taking a clay impression from one of their favourite carvings on or around the waka. We discovered that the Japanese word for ‘canoe’ is very similar – kanū. We are sure that this visit to the birthplace of our nation made a lasting impression on these students and will be a highlight of their time in New Zealand. From one Pacific island nation to another – gokigen yō (goodbye and good luck).