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

City sets aside surpluses as councillors choosing priorities

Nanaimo ended up with $4.5-million general surplus in 2018

Magic in the air at Nanaimo library on Harry Potter Day

VIRL’s Nanaimo North Library branch hosted activities Thursday

Nanaimo Hospital Auxiliary presents NRGH with $550,000 donation

Second time auxiliary presents a cheque topping half a million dollars to hospital

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Easing overnight park camping bylaw is ‘bonkers’

Who is supposed to enforce the city’s list of restrictions, asks letter writer

Nanaimo’s 1 Port Drive could get a trial run as a temporary bus loop

Prideaux Street bus exchange expected to be relocated for six months this year

VIDEO: Restaurant robots are already in Canada

Robo Sushi in Toronto has waist-high robots that guide patrons to empty seats

Beefs & Bouquets, March 21

To submit a beef or a bouquet to the Nanaimo News Bulletin, e-mail bulletinboard@nanaimobulletin.com

Permit rejected to bring two cheetahs to B.C.

Earl Pfeifer owns two cheetahs, one of which escaped in December 2015

First Nations leader to try for NDP nomination in Nanaimo-Ladysmith

Bob Chamberlin, vice-president of Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs, announces intentions

Folk singer’s globe-trotting taking him to Nanaimo

Lorkin O’Reilly explores the immigrant experience on new album, plays the Vault on Friday, March 22

Scientists disembark in Nanaimo after international expedition probes Pacific salmon

Canadian, American, Russian, Korean and Japanese scientists survey salmon in Gulf of Alaska

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: On climate, think about the children

Our son doesn’t understand that he’s been given a legacy of environmental crises, says letter writer

Short list for new gnome home includes Parksville, Coombs

Five potential locations have been chosen by Howard’s owners who will decide Tuesday

‘Full worm super moon’ to illuminate B.C. skies on first day of spring

Spring has sprung, a moon named in honour of thawing soil marks final super moon until 2020

Most Read