Both in the classroom and out, students will be focusing on Maori culture this week. Being from the United States, it's hard to imagine the level of bi-culturalism here. Both Pakeha (European) and Maori (indigenous) cultures are integrated into the New Zealand mainstream. Examples that the students have observed thus far include the bi-lingual New Zealand national anthem, the fact that all children are taught some Maori language in school, and the national rugby team's performance of the haka (a traditional Maori warrior ritual) before each game. The references are almost everywhere they look...from signage to holiday celebrations. Here are the students as they practice the hongi, a traditional greeting in which the two participant exchange "ha" or the breath of life.
And, lest anyone be too worried about us over her in the New Zealand "winter", some shots of students enjoying the sunny day picking tangerines.