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

Ladysmith Little Theatre now showing The Dining Room

Opening night is Thursday, September 19 and the final performance is Sunday, October 6

Long-awaited Crofton road improvements finally happening

Paved shoulders on both sides will be a welcome addition

‘I shouldn’t have done it,’ Trudeau says of brownface photo

Trudeau says he also wore makeup while performing a version of a Harry Belafonte song

35 of 87 dogs in 2018 Williams Lake seizure were euthanized due to behavioural issues, BCSPCA confirm

The dogs did not respond to the behaviour modification and remained terrified of humans

B.C. ‘tent city’ disputes spark call for local government autonomy

UBCM backs Maple Ridge after province overrules city

B.C. drug dealers arrested after traffic stop near Banff turns into helicopter pursuit

Antonio Nolasco-Padia, 23, and Dina Anthony, 55, both well-known to Chilliwack law enforcement

B.C. MLA calls on province to restrict vaping as first related illness appears in Canada

Todd Stone, Liberal MLA for Kamloops-South Thompson, introduced an anti-vaping bill in April

Chilliwack woman wins right to medically assisted death after three-year court battle

Julia Lamb has been the lead plaintiff in a legal battle to ease restrictions on Canada’s assisted dying laws

B.C. bus crash survivor petitions feds to fix road where classmates died

UVic student’s petition well over halfway to 5k signature goal

NDP, Liberals promise more spending, while Tories promise spending cuts

Making life more affordable for Canadians a focus in the 2019 election

Most Read