Tatiyana Billy will leave the cold weather of Nanaimo for the warmer climes of New Zealand through a Nanaimo Aboriginal Centre cultural exchange. (KARL YU/News Bulletin)

Island youths to learn about Maori culture, share First Nations culture

Nanaimo Aboriginal Centre youths from Ladysmith and Nanaimo going to New Zealand this month

Eleven aboriginal youths are prepping for a trip that will take them far beyond the familiar confines of the Harbour City.

Nanaimo Aboriginal Centre is taking the youths to New Zealand for a Paddling Beyond cultural exchange journey from Jan. 20-Feb. 1. They will spend time sharing their culture with the Maori – indigenous peoples in New Zealand – staying at an equivalent of a First Nations big house (marae) and will even have a chance to visit Hobbiton, where the Lord of the Rings trilogy was filmed.

The program sees travel as a way to develop leadership skills and connect with a different culture.

Tatiyana Billy said she is excited and the farthest she’s ever travelled is Calgary. She said she knows it’s going to be “fun” and “different.”

Billy said she is aware of Maori culture and dancing is a big thing, as well as rugby and singing. She will share the woman warrior song and is looking forward to sharing her culture and learning.

“We are learning a lot about our own culture (through the aboriginal centre’s Tsawalk Learning Centre) and learning how to dance and sing and our language a little bit more and we’re digging deeper into our culture than we ever thought we would do,” said Billy. “When we go there, we’re going to learn their language and what they do, what their songs are about and how they dance, the story background.”

While there have been donations from the community, Chris Beaton, Nanaimo Aboriginal Centre executive director, said the youths have contributed to the trip as well.

“We’ve gotten a great deal of support from community and from local businesses, but the youth themselves, have been involved in almost every fundraiser that we’ve done,” said Beaton.

Money still needs to be raised and the centre will host a movie night at Avalon Cinema with a screening of Indian Horse, a story about a First Nations hockey player who deals with racism and surviving residential school. The fundraiser goes Jan. 16 with doors opening 6:15 p.m. Tickets can be purchased for $20 through the centre. Please call 250-585-0947.

A Gofundme site has also been set up; to donate, go to www.gofundme.com and search Paddling Beyond Nanaimo.

When it comes to free time, Billy hopes to see the beach, as it will be summer in New Zealand.

“I am going to pack a lot of shorts,” said Billy with a laugh.



reporter@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow Karl on Twitter and Instagram

Just Posted

Hooked art captures attention at Galvin’s Chemainus studio

Climate change theme brings together some amazing work

Chemainus Bluegrass Extravaganza hits all the right notes

Festival season bringing music fans out in droves

Island pickleball players perfectly prepared

Top-notch action at Fuller Lake Park in singles, doubles and mixed doubles

Dormant Chemainus Foods building soon to be revived

Market expected to bring new life to the downtown core

VIDEO: B.C. MLA Michelle Stilwell takes first steps in nearly 30 years

‘It actually felt like walking. It’s been 27 years… but it felt realistic to me’

Science expedition to Canada’s largest underwater volcano departs Vancouver Island

Crews prepared for a two-week research mission to the Explorer Seamount

B.C. shipyard to get one-third of $1.5 billion frigate-repair contract

The federal government has promised to invest $7.5 billion to maintain the 12 frigates

Anglican Church to review governance structure after same-sex marriage change fails

Some say the current system to change doctrine gives too much voting power to a smaller class of bishops

B.C. adding fast-charge stations for electric highway trips

Okanagan, Vancouver Island, Kootenay stations ready for use

15-year-old with imitation gun caused ‘dynamic’ scene at Nanaimo mall

No one was harmed in Monday’s incident, say Nanaimo RCMP

Worried about bats? Here’s what to do if you come across one in B.C.

Bat expert with the BC Community Bat Program urges caution around the small creatures

Vancouver Island mom says she will go to court overseas to try to get daughter back

Tasha Brown says her estranged wife abducted their daughter Kaydance Etchells in 2016

B.C. on right road with tougher ride-hailing driver rules, says expert

The provincial government is holding firm that ride-hailing drivers have a Class 4 licence

Most Read