This is my first post that I've done while here in Aotearoa. This has been a really moving, insightful trip and I hardly know where to begin!
First, let me say that the people I've met here have been very welcoming and great hosts! Hospitality is important to the Maori and it has shown through all of the marae visits and other events we've participated in these last couple weeks. It has been really cool to meet so many folks who are all actively doing what they can to support Mother Earth and reclaim their language.
One of the days that has impacted me the most was the first Saturday we were here. We attended a wananga, a community learning session, that focused on natural resource management, treaty rights, and how those tie in with Maori values. It was a great overview of the principles that shape a Maori perspective and it renewed my sense of optimism regarding environmental issues. Each of the presenters was taking a different approach to solving Aotearoa's various ecological problems yet they were all able to come together in the space and listen to what each other had to say. I'm not going to assume that everything was kumbaya but it was a very cool thing to see! I haven't attended any meetings like that in Minnesota but I do hope to find them when I return. I'm sure they're out there...
I will talk about my visit to an immersion school in my next post!