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Photo by Matt White

Gateway Waiheke Island Trip

Mr M White —

Brianna Tipa reflects on her visit to the marae that her whānau whakapapa to on Waiheke Island. Brianna was part of a student cultural programme organised by Mrs Mountstevens through the Gateway programme.

In the April school holidays myself, Amelia MacDonald, Briar Gillies, Maia Te Whetu, Rui Wihongi and Ofa Puleiku were given the opportunity to travel up to Waiheke Island to learn about adventure tourism in a Maori cultural context and earn 20 credits for Level 3. 

Everything we did while on the island in someway related back to the assessment we needed to complete, for example on one day we were put into groups to recite appropriate karakia (prayer) when we went to look at particular tapu (sacred) sites that were important to the tangata whenua.

We went on bush walks, learnt how to weave and carve, participated in Waka Ama and Kapa Haka, were taught new Māori games, went Ziplining and on our second to last night were in charge of hosting a banquet for the tangata whenua - where we had to prepare and put a hangi in the ground while still entertaining our guests from the moment they arrived to the moment they left. We even opened a new room down in their Hauora building at the front of the Marae.

From going on the Cultural Camp I gained more knowledge about Maori tikanga and Marae procedures, I interacted with other teenagers from all over New Zealand, I tried new things out like Ziplining, and met new people, which help me gain the skill of becoming more comfortable around others.

Overall, the whole trip was enjoyable but if I had to pinpoint certain parts of the trip that stood out and I really enjoyed they would have to be the last two days - as a group these were the two days where everyone was getting along really well and we were starting to feel like a big family. We went Ziplining together, and had a bonfire where everyone was relaxed, singing and just enjoying each others company. I also enjoyed the fact that during the whole trip everyone was very welcoming and everyone made an effort to include each other in everything and talk to people that they wouldn’t usually talk to.

Anyone who gets the chance to experience this Cultural Camp in either Year 12 or Year 13 should not hesitate to accept it as it’s a opportunity that they will probably never be offered again.

  • Brianna Tipa