In August, 2017 I took my Level 3 Geography class to Rotorua for a 3 day field trip. Over the 3 days we did a range of activities including, Te Puia, Skyline, Rotorua Museum, The Buried Village, Agrodome and Tamaki Maori Village.
What was particularly interesting to me about this trip is the way students responded to the cultural contexts. I noticed the moment we arrived in Rotorua students were greeting everyone they encountered with “Kia ora”. On the first night we were there we went to Tamaki Maori Village this involved a tour and short lessons on traditional Maori culture (pre-european contact), a concert and a hangi dinner. The whole experience was awesome but as I looked around at the visitors (5 tour buses in one sitting) I couldn’t help but think about the consumption of culture and wondered how Maori students (or visitors) would interpret this.
I decided to ask several Maori students in the class they assured me this was not the case. As one student explained:
I loved every minute of it miss, it made me feel like my culture was valued and people were actually interested in it. You don’t get that in Auckland cos Maori culture gets lumped in with other Pacific cultures but here I feel proud to be Maori!
These students also explained how much they loved visiting Te Puia and I realised how valuable this trip was for some students in terms of valuing and appreciating their own culture. This is something I need to consider in my planning for the next trip. Perhaps more time at Te Puia (they offer weaving workshops and hangi lunch for school groups).