Thursday, September 4, 2014

Maori Culture

The Maori are the native people of New Zealand, and they have shaped New Zealand's culture. Much of the Maori language and culture is present in contemporary life in New Zealand. Mom and I wanted to experience Maori culture, so we went the the Auckland War Memorial Museum with my DU friend Manoj who's studying abroad at the University of Auckland. We loved the highly authentic presentation of Maori history, lifestyle, dance, music and weaponry. We also viewed the museum's collection of Maori treasures, taonga. Above you can see the energy and intensity of the native Maori as they present their culture through use of native music and dance. It was a highly effective performance that really engaged the audience. The other picture shows Manoj and me with two of the performers. They're in fully authentic costume. After the cultural performance, we toured the rest of the museum and learned about New Zealand's role in the first and second World Wars as well as their other military exploits. The Kiwi people are quite dedicated to honoring the memory of their military, and the museum houses an empty tomb for the fallen where families and visitors can remember those who died in service to the country. The war memorial was impressive and moving. We also viewed the native bird exhibit and a gallery depicting New Zealand's volcanic activity. The museum was a highlight of our visit to Auckland. Finally, Manoj showed us around the city and his campus, which was beautiful.

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