Recent Blog Posts

Post written by trip leader, Jolene Schuster:

Throughout our journey around Aotearoa we have been blessed with so many opportunities to learn and share knowledge and culture with the people we meet. We are all struck by the friendly, generous, and helpful spirit of Kiwi people. We have engaged with so many people are so happy to share with us. While staying at Huria marae in Tauranga, Sean a member of the iwi and teacher, gave us a historical tour of the area including the site of the Battle of Gate Pa.  The Maori people believe strongly in the concept of utu, maybe best translated as reciprocity, not just an eye for an eye but also that kindness must be repaid by kindness. Before the battle they drafted a set of rules about treating prisoners well, caring for the injured, and doing no harm to women and children. The rules became guidelines for the Geneva Accords still in effect today. While hiking the Tongariro Crossing, our guides Laura and Jarem, shared their passions for geology and caring for the natural world. Their enthusiasm was infectious and we were all pointing out interesting rocks and asking questions about the various volcanic eruptions. During our stay at Wiaokura marae in Manaia we have been welcomed as family. Members of the hapu have stopped by to meet and get to know us and to show their history and their present. We helped in the garden in the Pakihara community and learned about frensing, the scientifically and cultural procedure for dealing with the unfortunate event of beaching whales. While these events are sad, the community is able to both learn more about the science of whales and their environment and engage in traditional practices like bone carving and the making of medicines from the resources provided by the whales.