September 9, 2017
A larger-than-life display of a kiwi soldier fighting in the Gallipoli battle during WWI.
Our first free day in Wellington consisted of rest and time exploring the city! The day before, we visited the famous Te Papa museum and got a special “back of the house“ tour of their “Mana Whenua” exhibit, which loosely translates to “authority of the land.” The Mana Whenua exhibit was one of many in the expansive museum, so we decided to come back the next day and explore the rest, especially since it’s free! One place we hadn’t checked out was the Gallipoli exhibition. Gallipoli was a battle during World War I where New Zealand helped other Allied forces invade the Gallipoli peninsula in Turkey. Sadly, the campaign ended with over 2,500 casualties on the New Zealand side. Despite the tragedy, the Gallipoli battle was very important as not only one of New Zealand’s first major steps in cultivating a sense of national identity, but also as the first battle where Māori and pākehā, or foreign settlers, fought together. In the exhibit, there was a large section detailing Māori involvement in the battle through The Māori Contingent, an all Māori battalion, which landed in Gallipoli in July of 1915. The display described how important Māori involvement was in the battle, earning them the respect and admiration of British and pākehā troops. But it also stated that many have overlooked their involvement historically. Seeing this reminded me of the fact that many modern treaty settlement claims being assessed by the Waitangi Tribunal are related to the health issues of Māori veterans involved in World War I and the Vietnam War. For context, the Waitangi Tribunal is a group of people tasked with hearing Māori claims of Treaty of Waitangi violations by European settlers. Part of the treaty claimed that Māori would gain the same rights and liberties as British citizens. However, after coming home from war many Māori soldiers were not given the same treatment as the pākehā veterans. Today, the grievances of Māori veterans, especially relating to PTSD, are finally being heard and settlements are being advocated for by the Waitangi Tribunal. Learning about the Tribunals current efforts and seeing the Māori Contingent soldiers receive recognition in the Gallipoli exhibit has made me hopeful that Māori veterans will be rightfully compensated for their service in the near the future.
Originally from Kirkland, Washington, and a graduate of Seattle Preparatory School, I am currently a Senior at the University of Washington. My declared major is Environmental Science and Terrestrial Resource Management, or ESRM, and I am also pursuing a minor in Quantitative Science. My specific interests within Environmental Science are marine biology and conservation, as well as renewable energy and renewable resource sciences. My hope is to take my degree in Environmental Science and go into the fields of sustainable business and renewable energy. With a Quantitative Science minor, I hope to gain a broader understanding of statistics and quantitative analysis, and be able to merge that knowledge with my knowledge of environmental science to become a more successful sustainable businessperson. At the UW, I am also a member of the Pi Beta Phi sorority, where I served for a time as our Green Greek Representative, working with other members of the Greek community to improve our community’s carbon footprint and environmental impact.
Me at the Colosseum in Rome, Italy this summer
Earlier this summer, I was lucky enough to travel to Europe on a month-long backpacking trip with a close friend. Over the course of about 33 days, we visited various parts of Greece, Italy, and Spain. This was my first time traveling any great distance without my family, and I learned quite a lot both about myself and about the differences in cultures around the world. During this time, I was able to visit numerous sites of cultural and historical significance, enjoy delicious food, and truly immerse myself in a new way of life. My time traveling in these places helped me prepare a great deal for this study abroad trip in New Zealand.
As my first true study abroad experience, I am very excited for our trip in Aotearoa, New Zealand. This will be my first time taking a college course about indigenous peoples, and I am interested to learn how issues of sovereignty, representation, and environment affect indigenous communities. I am especially eager to hear from Māori leaders and community members about how climate change has been affecting their ways of life, and listen to their fears or hopes for the future regarding the environment. I am also very excited to experience the cultural traditions of the Māori people, especially through art, religion, and storytelling. At the end of this trip, I hope to truly understand the struggles of the Māori peoples and connect with their communities to help bring the issues they face to light and address the challenges they face today, as well as for the future.
Aug 24, 2017
Our first day in Aotearoa, New Zealand, was very eventful! First thing in the morning, all fifteen of us students met up with our professors, Josh Reid and Chris Teuton, at the Waipapa Marae in Auckland. Upon arriving at the Marae, we were greeted by Aroha Harris, a high-raking Māori “speaker of women.” She was kind enough to usher us onto the Waipapa Marae to be welcomed by our Māori hosts at the University of Auckland. Our hosts made a beautiful speech welcoming us in Māori, which they also translated into English so we could understand. They then sung us a famous traditional Māori song, complete with dancing and hand gestures! In response our professor, Chris Teuton, gave a speech entirely in Māori thanking them for their hospitality! All of our hosts were very impressed. After his speech, we all sang a Māori song that we had learned together during our orientation sessions. It is also customary for guests to bring gifts when being welcomed onto a Māori marae, so we gave our hosts a bag full of special handmade jewelry and other unique gifts from back home in Seattle! After that, our gracious hosts took the time to give us a tour of their communal house, their “wharenui,” and explained to us the meanings of the beautiful carvings covering the walls. Usually, each carving represents a specific ancestor, and the carving ensures their story will be told and remembered through time, but in this marae the carvings represented the many first captains and navigators who journeyed to New Zealand from Polynesia. After the tour, they offered us coffee and breakfast with delicious homemade smoked salmon frittatas, pastries, sandwiches, and much more! They encouraged us to eat and waited for all of us to grab food first, which is customary in Māori culture before the guests and hosts can freely interact. Our incredible experience at the marae reflected the emphasis on representation through story-telling and tradition (especially hospitality) in Māori culture that we’ve been reading about for the last couple weeks!
The entrance to the sacred wharenui (communal house) at Waipapa Marae in Auckland, featuring a few members of our class and our professors, Professor Reid and Professor Teuton.
After the Marae, we schlepped our bags across town and hopped on a bus to Paihia, a small beach town in New Zealand’s scenic Bay of Islands. After the long 5-hour bus ride, we arrived at our rental house and had an amazing community dinner cooked by Professor Teuton’s wife and family, and with local foods gifted from Ms. Harris! With bellies full of food and jet-lag setting in, we decided to call it an early night in order to be ready for the next day’s adventures!