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Blogs from Abroad

Blogs from Santa Clara University students studying abroad.

The following postings have been filtered by tag Philip White (New Zealand). clear filter
  •  Maori Spirit

    Tuesday, Sep. 21, 2010 11:15 PM

     

    After much correspondence with my parents, and phone calls, I arranged to meet some old family friends of my grandparents. Before I get into much detail to roughly explain a Marae is a type of Maori meeting area. From what my grandparents had told me my family friend was a good-hearted Maori, overflowing kindness and generosity. In Hawaii we refer to those values as Aloha Spirit. As I walked to my university’s Marae, it dawned on me that I was going to be representing my entire family, not just my mom and dad, but my grandparents as well. I had never seen these family friends and my grandparents hadn’t seen them in at least twenty years. I had to make a good impression. Upon meeting my family friend and his son, we embraced in the traditional hongi, or the touching of noses and exchange of breath. To my surprise it felt incredibly natural and went without any awkwardness. We spoke much about my grandparents and the old days, laughing here and there. Our talk drifted toward the parallels of both my Hawaiian culture and their Maori culture. They explained to me many of the contemporary problems the Maori people faced in this new age, and how their culture had revitalized itself. My grandfather, while traveling in the South Island had seen how the Maori culture was on the rise, he looked for ways to bring that spirit back into the Hawaiian culture, which lead him to befriending the man standing before me. As the family friend returned to work, the son and I stayed a while longer talking about Hawaiian and Maori identity and how to preserve and perpetuate it by uniting Polynesia in a cultural pride. It was here that it dawned on me, that I had only been in Hawaii for six weeks out of the whole year and how much I had started to lose touch with my roots or whakapapa, as the say in Maori. Learning about how much my family friend had done to help the local Maori population inspired me to reconnect with my Hawaiian side and to try to help perpetuate the Hawaiian identity.

     

  •  Adventures in Taupo

    Wednesday, Aug. 11, 2010 5:59 PM

    This weekend four of my friends and I decided to rent a car and drive approximately 4 hours south to the town of Taupo, which, coincidently, is next to Lake Taupo. We could have gotten there faster had we known exactly how to get there, but regardless we made it with out being lost. We came all the way down here to go skydiving. It has always been something I wanted to do. Upon arriving we made dinner in the hostel kitchen then headed out to one of the near by bars to socialize. We turned out to be the only people in the bar. After playing a game of billiards, we were joined by an openly lesbian couple sitting across from us. If there is one thing that I respect about New Zealand thus far it is the lack of sexism and homophobia that exists in America. People here are far more open to LGBTs. I feel like I know more openly gay people here than I do in the states. I enjoy being exposed to this new culture that seems to so hidden from me while I am in the States.

                On a side note, we never did get to go skydiving because the weather was not on our side, regardless I enjoyed the experience and the sight seeing.

     

  •  So Far So Good

    Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2010 5:53 PM

    I must say that I was expecting to be living with a bunch more Kiwis, but most who attend Auckland University are commuter students.  The ones I am living with are all international or study abroad students.  At first I was disappointed but then I realized the immense diversity I was surrounded with.  I have discovered that the best way to approach a diverse community or any community is to always have an open mind and to ask an appropriate amount of questions.  When first getting to know the other residences of No. 14 Whitaker Place I found many people from all over Europe, North America, and Asia.  While we were having a social gathering of sorts in a neighboring flat one fellow decided that his country was the best country at drinking.  Of course everyone cheered for their own country and a drinking contest ensued.  As the fellow continued to drunkenly rave about how awesome his country was a clear rift started to form isolating him from the rest of the party.  Even his own countrymen were embarrassed by his actions.  I took away from this experience really learning that to be overly enthusiastic for your home country, while a broad, can turn people away from you.

     

     

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