A contingent from Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi, a university in New Zealand, visited WCC last month to strengthen the sister college relationship between the two schools.
“Through spirit, mind and partnership we sit down, chat and talk,” said Dr. Wiremu Doherty acting chief executive of Awanuiārangi. “That’s the first steps to good relations.”
The welcome ceremony on Oct. 1 took place in the newly-built 19-by-40 foot thatched wooden structure located next to Hale A’o, and was attended by Doherty, his wife, an associate from Awanuiārangi and WCC administrators and students, including many from the Hawaiian Studies program.
Students performed three songs and some solo chants, all in the Hawaiian language. “This was my first time performing and chanting,” said Hawaiian Studies student Augie Camello. “I have only been taking the class for two months, but I know a little Hawaiian!”
Doherty chanted in Maori and then talked about the relationship between Hawai‘i and New Zealand. “The geographic location connects us together,” he said. “We know that a few thousand years ago the ancestors of Maoris and Hawaiians came from the same place. They were family. The chants and welcoming ceremonies are similar … It’s all about sustaining the knowledge of the Maoris and Hawaiians. We hope we can soon exchange students from New Zealand to WCC to help them further their studies in a specific field.”
WCC Chancellor Doug Dykstra gave a speech about developing and maintaining the relationship between the schools and referenced their history.
He talked about meeting Doherty for the first time in 1994. In 2005, 11 WCC students flew to New Zealand for an exchange program. In 2012, Doherty came to see the grand opening of the new WCC library, bringing books from and about New Zealand that were then added to the library’s Polynesian Hawaiian section.
In the latest ceremony, the two men exchanged gifts. Dykstra gave Doherty a bowl made from Hawaiian koa wood.
Doherty presented a wooden statue with a mother of pearl emblem. The gifts were meant to maintain the friendship between the two universities and allow further discussion of student exchange programs.
Doherty said he enjoyed visiting Hawai‘i and WCC: “I love the food and hospitality, it’s always fun to travel when your body can handle it.”
by Zachary Rupp-Smith, Ka ‘Ohana Staff Reporter