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

Long-awaited Crofton road improvements finally happening

Paved shoulders on both sides will be a welcome addition

Mrs. Warren’s Profession a delightful comedic romp

Chemainus Theatre Festival did not disappoint with their production of Mrs. Warren’s Profession

Chemainus Inn receives highest award for quality

Commitment to service excellence recognized by Best Western chain

Youth restore Crofton senior’s garden of earthly delights

Summer program provides a free service and gives participants a wage

‘It’s almost surreal’: B.C. fire chief, sidekick Sammy recap rescue mission in Bahamas

Chief Larry Watkinson and Sam the disaster dog spent 8 days assisting a search and rescue team

‘Time to take action:’ Children advocates call for national youth suicide strategy

Council wants Ottawa to make reporting of suicides and attempted suicides mandatory for data collection

Canadian inflation decelerates to 1.9% as gas prices weaken

August was the sixth straight month that price growth was 1.9 per cent or higher

Man who crushed Nanaimo RCMP cars with stolen truck gets more jail time

Majore Jackson, 34, sentenced to two more years in jail in provincial court in Nanaimo

Defense says burden of proof not met in double murder case against Victoria father

Closing statements begin in trial for man accused of killing daughters Christmas 2017

B.C. dog breeder banned again after 46 dogs seized

The SPCA seized the animals from Terry Baker, 66, in February 2018

B.C. Ferries wants input on concepts for a Horseshoe Bay terminal re-design

Ferry corporation accepting public feedback until Oct. 13

Surrey mom allegedly paid $400,000 for son in U.S. college bribery scam

Xiaoning Sui, 48, was arrested in Spain on Monday night

B.C. population on pace to fall behind Alberta

Provincial population could reach almost seven million in 2043, but Alberta is growing faster

Most Read