Last night, our students spent some time with Paora Sharples and his kapahaka class. The men learned the All Blacks haka… from the individual who worked with the All Blacks back in the late-1990s to teach them the current haka they use. Here is a short video of our efforts:
Earlier today, I arrived in Auckland from Melbourne, where I did a little follow-up research on a new project I’m working on about Indigenous explorers in the Pacific, from the late-eighteenth through late-nineteenth centuries. After checking into my hotel, I made a beeline for the Ngā Pae o te Maramatanga (New Zealand’s Māori Centre of Research Excellence) to go through the
Hint: Where Chris and I went before heading to Aotearoa.
boxes of koha (gifts) we shipped from Seattle – the photo to the left hints at some of what we shipped from home. We’ll need these for our põwhiri (welcoming ceremony) in the morning and at other marae we’ll be visiting over the next few weeks. Our hosts at the University of Auckland were there to greet me and help me track down one of our missing boxes.
When I walked into the offices of the centre, I spotted a copy of a conference proceedings book that contains my first post-undergrad publication. This was a paper I presented in 2005 at an Indigenous Knowledges conference in Wellington, and it was this conference that first brought me to Aotearoa. From that experience, I met many fellow scholars and Māori with whom I am still in contact… and some that I hope to see on this excursion. So, it is only fitting that this piece from the past was one of the first items I saw upon the beginning of this program. My hope is that the students have a transformational experience like I had on my first trip here.
My co-director, Chris Teuton, and I have structured an academic study abroad that examines the intersections of sovereignty, environment, and representation in Aotearoa New Zealand. These are themes in which we are keenly interested, and we hope that this appeals to our students, too. Aotearoa is an ideal place to explore these topics, and we think we have assembled a unique program that will challenge them to think critically about these and in ways that compare them to the experiences of Indigenous peoples in North America.