First Hindu-Maori whanaungatanga in Wellington coming up

Venkat Raman
Auckland, April 9, 2023

The Wellington region will witness the first Hindu-Māori whanaungatanga (relationship) at Te Kakano O Te Aroha Marae, located at 136 Randwick Road Moera in Lower Hutt.

Organised by the Central Region of the Hindu Council of New Zealand (HCNZ) and the Hindu Youth New Zealand (HYNZ) the three-day programme will be held from April 21 to April 23, 2023.

Marae Stay Coordinator and Treasurer Kiran Thakrar said that Hindus are a thriving community in the Wellington region.

“We are keen to connect our people with each and with the mana whenua. 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 said.

The Hindu Council said that the initiative will bring together communities in a unique through activities and stay at the Marae.

The annual programme, since its launch more than 20 years ago, has evinced the wider interest of the Hindu and Maori communities.

Exchange of cultures

The Hindu Council sees this as a special feature bringing the values of Maoridom to Hindus in New Zealand, especially the youth and extending the Hindu concept of  Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam or The World is One Family to the Maori community.

HYNZ Auckland City Coordinator Srushti Kapadia said that blessed by the Kaumatua and Hindu elders, the annual gathering provides an immersive experience for participants.

The Hindu Council of New Zealand marked 25 years of Hindu-Māori friendship at the Apumoana Marae in Rotorua in 2021 (Photo Supplied)

“Those attending the annual gathering get to stay at a Marae and learn about Māori culture, stories, and protocols first-hand, making it a unique feature of HCNZ/HYNZ Marae Stays. Our young people also have an opportunity to see their counterparts from all over New Zealand to experience Te Ao Māori, and share Hindu culture,” she said.

In 2021, HCNZ commemorated 25 years of Hindu-Māori friendship at the Apumoana Marae in Rotorua with their annual Marae Stay. The Organisation also hosted numerous Hindu-Māori Hui at which Māori with Indian whakapapa (heritage) learnt about their Hindu cultural heritage.

The Hui helped the Hindu community learn Māori culture, creating a platform for a true exchange where both communities discovered and celebrated their similarities and differences.

Understanding Traditions

Ms Thakrar said that Marae Stay aims to facilitate the meeting of Hindu individuals and families who are seeking to strengthen ties.

“The Marae Stay will give 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).  It will also help them to acknowledge the shared past and collective histories and unite for a better future for Aotearoa,” she said.

According to Ms Kapadia, the three-day Marae Stay will include workshops on 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 learn about Hindu-Māori similarities and their cultures,” she said.

The Marae Stay and workshops are funded by Creative Communities New Zealand (Lower Hutt).

Those interested can register their interest at http://tinyurl.com/HCNZMaraeStay.

Further information can be obtained from Kiran Thakrar on 021-1640832 or Vijeshni Rattan on 021-0798243. Email hinducouncilnz.wellington@gmail.com

Facebook Link: https://www.facebook.com/HCNZWLG

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