Pride in our culture

30 11 2011

Since I have all your attention, I thought I will use this opportunity to share with you all my experiences on my special day.

On the 28th Nov. we took the highway to the north of Dunedin to a little Maori community called Karitane, and spent the night at the Marae (Community hall). At the Marae, we were welcomed by the community and exchanged breaths (Hongi).

It was an experience to meet an indigenous community so proud of their culture, but who had experienced challenges to their culture for hundreds of years. But they are a proud people, proud of their culture, proud of reviving what is left.

This brought to my mind that we are losing our culture and losing it fast too. We should be proud of who we [sic]. We must take pride in our language – teach it to our children. We must uphold our culture because it defines who we are. We are unique and we must embrace that. If we do not, we can become people without identity in the near future.

When we left – presents were shared all around , tears were shed all around, and I felt like I had been there for more than the one night we spent at the Marae. We were also honored by their chief who gave a bottle of water taken from their sacred springs from their highest and sacred mountain. I am thankful for having had the experience. It was a spiritual experience for me that I want to share in [sic].

Thank you for reading.

by Tanya Zeriga-Alon

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