Telling the Story of People Connected to the Land

While taking in the sights of New Zealand’s “Maori heartland” Rotorua, the Toronto Sun’s Ian Robertson stops in at Te Puia: New Zealand Maori Arts and Crafts Institute in the Whakarewarewa Geothermal Valley.

“Entered off Hemo Road, the 70-ha site lets manuhuri – or visitors – experience the ancient culture first-hand. A visit starts with welcoming songs, greetings, stories and demonstrations of ancient haka – a tongues-out, foot-stomping challenge – in the meeting house. (It’s near another one built in 1901 for two royal visitors, the future King George V and Queen Mary.)

“Visitor Experience general manager Tarapoto Nicholson started as a teenaged apprentice wood-carver, left in 2003 to work with the Church of England and returned to help long-time staff and newer guides ‘relearn the narratives’.

“Beyond sights and sounds, ‘it’s all about … telling the story of the people connected to the land,’ Nicholson said on a shaded cafe patio before we went exploring.

“Often speaking Maori, then translating, Nicholson said Te Puia’s revenue is returned to the community and the country.”

Original article by Ian Robertson, Toronto Sun, April 16, 2014.

Tags: Rotorua  Tarapoto Nicholson  Te Puia: New Zealand Maori Arts and Crafts Institute  Toronto Sun  Whakarewarewa Geothermal Valley  

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