My parents are both German-Jewish survivors/immigrants of the Nazi regime and the 2nd WW. I was born in Melbourne, Australia then moved to live in Israel in 1978 at the age of 19. My Son was born in Israel and was 4 years old when we came to live in Aotearoa in 1990.
I remember early on feeling attracted to the Maori culture. My son went to Freemans Bay primary school for his first three years and I remember the Maori immersion unit there having a powhiri which we attended. I didn’t understand the process or content, but what I do remember was getting really emotional when they did a karakia/waiata. I felt all choked up, it hit me deep inside. To this day Maori waiata continues to have this effect on me.
My next memory is when I was studying Psychotherapy at AUT. (1992 -1995) An emotional roller coaster in itself, right from the outset there was a Maori component to the course. This has changed and grown incredibly since then and I believe the course now has a Maori pathway in its own right which is a great achievement. Back then though we did some learning of tikanga Maori concepts and with a noho marae for a weekend each year. These hui were held at Hoani Waititi Marae and were quite intense and memorable experiences.