Our time has come and the people shall sing. This morning we were called in to the wananga (house of learning) in a ceremony called Powhiri. A female member of the Awanuiārangi University stood at the door of the wananga, speaking out in Maori as we slowly shuffled forward in response. Dan’s cousin lead us across the lawn, responding in turn in Maori. We entered the place and sat across from the staff members of the college, males in the front row and women behind (for protection). We received a welcoming of our ancestors in Maori, to which Dan responded before we started conducting business in English. They just welcomed up, told us a bit about the place and their excitement for us to be there. Then we sang the Te Aroha to them, and greeted them in the traditional Maori way of ‘the breath of life’, in which you touch foreheads and nose to mimic the myth of human creation and the god breathing life into us. Very intimate, very new and interesting.
Then we shared drinks and light snacks in the dining room while they sang songs and danced. It was all in Maori and beautiful, with everyone moving in ways that seemed woven in to their muscle memory while shaking their hands. I was very curious about the hand shaking, but I’ve yet to ask anyone about it. After about a half hour of this we ended up moving our things over to the noho marae, or the grand sleeping room. Everyone started stacking the futons and doing summersaults and crap over them. It was great.
Once we settled in a little bit we were off to the field for some observation work.
_STILL IN PROGRESS_
We all spotted this sign near the beach, and looked so dang American taking pics of this common sign. So cool though!!
The night ended with the group watching “Hunt for the Wilderpeople” in the sleeping room, everyone curled up all cozy as Ricky Baker stole our hearts with swag and snark. It was a fun end to day 2, and definitely settled it; we’re in a summer camp paradise sandwiched with science. This is the life I want to live.