Gordonton School visited Hukanui Marae recently. Gordonton principal Keith O’Donnell said students and staff were welcomed onto the Marae with a full Powhiri.
The purpose of the visit was to strengthen ties between the Marae and the school and to bring the two communities closer together. There is some overlap in that relationship, he said.
“A number of our students are linked to Ngati Wairere so it follows that the Marae and School should pursue a strong relationship. We are right on each others doorsteps and the opportunities have never really been rigorously explored.”
Following the Powhiri the children participated in games, flax weaving, poi making and a session in the Wharenui learning of the local history of Hukanui Marae.
“It was great seeing the children and staff relaxing and playing in and around the Marae,” he said. “The Marae is often seen as a place of very strict customs and protocols and this sometimes presents a concern for the uninitiated, entering on but not wishing to do the wrong thing or offend. Hukanui has a very warm and inviting atmosphere.”
“A nice surprise was the Tangata Whenua declaring the Marae ‘open’ to the school meaning that we don’t have to be welcomed on any longer but are part of the Hukanui community.
“We are grateful for the assistance Cilla Henry and Ted, Marae Kaumatua, gave us to make this trip possible. It serves to allow access to a valuable learning place for our staff and students and we want to really explore the opportunity.”
Cilla Henry said the marae based Te Kohanga Reo assisted in the powhiri in the morning and that it was a very enjoyable day for all.