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Friday, April 12, 2024

Strengthening of Hindu-Māori Relations with Marae Stay in Wellington, NZ

Wellington is set to witness the strengthening of Hindu-Māori whanaungatanga (relationship) with Hindus from around New Zealand coming together and connecting with the local iwi at Te Kakano O Te Aroha Marae. The Hindu Council of New Zealand (Central Region) in collaboration with Hindu Youth New Zealand (HYNZ) will help to bring these communities together through a unique Marae Stay Experience from 21-23 April 2023.

Since the early 2000’s, The Hindu Council of New Zealand (HCNZ) has been hosting an annual Marae Stay with the welcome of the Māori community and the blessings of Kaumatua and Hindu elders. It provides a unique and immersive experience for participants, as they get to stay at a marae and learn about Māori culture, stories, and protocols firsthand, an opportunity not often easy to come by, making it a unique feature of HCNZ/HYNZ Marae Stays.

“Hindu Youth New Zealand have been helping to organise Marae Stays for a number of years now,”  said Srushti Kapadia, Auckland City Coordinator, Hindu Youth New Zealand. “It has been an incredible experience to see young people from all over New Zealand coming together to immerse in Te Ao Māori, and also have the opportunity to share Hindu culture with the wider community” she added.

In 2021, HCNZ commemorated 25 years of Hindu-Māori friendship at the Apumoana Marae in Rotorua with their annual Marae Stay. In addition to these immersive experiences, the Hindu Council of New Zealand has also hosted numerous Hindu-Māori Hui where Māori who have Indian whakapapa (heritage) had the opportunity to learn about their Hindu cultural heritage. The Hui has also allowed the Hindu community to learn about Māori culture, creating a platform for a true cultural exchange where both communities discovered and celebrated their similarities and differences. All these events and initiatives derive their inspiration from the Hindu principle of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam (The World is One Family). 

This is the first time HCNZ will be hosting a Marae Stay Experience in the Wellington region. “We have a thriving Hindu community in Wellington who are looking to connect with one another, as well as mana whenua” said Kiran Thakrar, Marae Stay Coordinator and Treasurer, Hindu Council of New Zealand (Central Region). “By bringing our annual Marae Stay to Wellington, we hope to enable the connections and strengthen the ties of both Hindu and Māori communities” she added.

The Marae Stay will aim to facilitate the meeting of Hindu individuals and families who are seeking to strengthen ties, giving them an opportunity to experience the traditional powhiri, being welcomed onto and staying at a marae and connecting with Tangata Whenua (people of the land).  To acknowledge the shared past, our collective histories and uniting for a better future for Aotearoa, blessings of the Kaumatua will be sought prior to the commencement of this immersive experience.

Throughout the weekend there will be various workshops in the Ancient Indian Arts such as Rangoli and Mehndi, as well as Tā moko, a traditional form of tattooing that holds deep cultural significance in Māori culture. The Marae Stay will be packed with interactive and hands-on sessions, visits to local nature sites, and activities suitable for all age groups. A Dharma Quiz and fun team building games are some examples of such events. The participants will get an opportunity to connect with one another and to support learning about Hindu-Māori similarities, the cultures and both communities. The Marae Stay and workshops are brought to the community with the support and funding of Creative Communities New Zealand (Lower Hutt).

The Marae Stay will take place at Te Kakano O Te Aroha Marae, 136 Randwick Road, Moera, Lower Hutt, Wellington. To register your expression of interest to join the Marae Stay please click on the link and fill out the details: http://tinyurl.com/HCNZMaraeStay.

For more information, please contact Kiran Thakrar on 0211640832 or Vijeshni Rattan on 0210798243. Alternatively, you can email contact HCNZ Wellington on   [email protected] 

To keep up to date with the latest information about the Marae Stay and other programs follow HCNZ Wellington on  https://www.facebook.com/HCNZWLG

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