The Maori tribal people trace their ancestral roots about a thousand years ago to a legendary island named Hawaiki. It is said they traveled a great distance to Aotearoa (New Zealand) in 40 waka canoes.
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Building bridges for cultural exchange

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The Tap Root Cultural Exchange Program will invite a group of participants to tour Taiwan. This group will consist of Maori film students from the Auckland University of Technology, their chaperones, and the exchange program support staff from Taiwan.

The ATAYAL Organization would like to thank Tobie Openshaw for providing photos and videos of most of the student participants.


Name: Eruini (Eru) Tuwharetoa Paranihi
From: Wellington, New Zealand
Hobbies: Sports, Fitness, Radio, Music, and Socializing
Tribes (Iwi): Ngāti Tuwharetoa, Ngāti Raukawa, Ngāti Porou

School: Auckland University of Technology (Auckland, NZ)

Kia Ora my name is Eru and I am studying Māori Media at the Auckland University of Technology in New Zealand. I am also a part-time Radio Announcer for a station called Mai FM. In my spare time I like to play a variety of sports including Rugby, Cricket, Soccer and Netball. I am also open to anything that involves being active. I am looking forward to coming to Taiwan and learning a lot bout the Taiwanese culture. In return, I am happy to share a bit of our culture from New Zealand, Māori and Non-Māori too, and hope that you get a lot out of what we do.

Eruini Paranihi

Name: Urshula Ansell
From: Auckland, New Zealand
Tribes (Iwi): Ngāpuhi

School: Auckland University of Technology (Auckland, NZ)

Kia ora! I am a student at Auckland University of Technology (AUT) studying Bachelor of Māori Development, majoring in Māori Media. I am very interested about learning the connections between each others cultures and learning new things about my own culture. I'm also very passionate to learn more about the Taiwanese traditions and culture. I am very excited to show the Taiwanese people a different perspective on the Māori culture as I am in the journey of learning more about myself.

Urshula Ansell

Name: Mahia Ponga-Fou
From: Palmerston North, New Zealand
School: Auckland University of Technology (Auckland, NZ)

While in Taiwan, Mahia is interested in learning about the lifestyles of the Taiwanese Austronesians as well as learning more about the culture and history of Taiwan. She looks forward to teaching Māori dance and language to her Taiwanese hosts.

Mahia Ponga-Fou

Name: Reece Howard
From: Hamilton, New Zealand
School: Auckland University of Technology (Auckland, NZ)

Reece Howard is a film student and aspiring documentary maker. In Taiwan he would like to learn as much about how the Taiwanese express themselves and their cultural identity in their arts and rituals and how they live their lives. He wants to observe the similarities and differences between the Māori and Austronesian cultures of Taiwan. He wishes to share his Māori culture and the methods in which he expresses his cultural identity through video and art. He will be filming the exchange.

Reece Howard

Name: Kahurangi Peke-King-Minnear
From: Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand
Hobbies: Reading, film and media, outdoor kayaking and camping, photography, touch rugby
Tribes (Iwi): Ngāti Haua, Ngāti Tamateraa
School: Auckland University of Technology (Auckland, NZ)

Kahurangi is a student studying Māori Media. While in Taiwan, She is interested in traveling and experiencing different facets of culture in Taiwan, including language, religion and food. She also has a special interest in the animals that are endemic to Taiwan. She looks forward to teaching Māori customs and language to her Taiwanese hosts and get as much knowledge of their culture, knowledge and history.

Kahurangi Peke-King-Minnear

Name: Michael Wikiriwhi-Heta
From: Kaipara, New Zealand
Hobbies: Netball, tag and touch
Tribes (Iwi): Ngāti Whatua, Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Rehia, Ngāti Haua
School: Auckland University of Technology (Auckland, NZ)

Michael is studying for a Bachelor's degree in Māori Development, majoring in Māori Media. He has participated in self-discovery and believes it is time to gain more knowledge about hia Māori culture. Learning about his culture intrigues him and to know that there may be another link between the Māori culture and the Taiwanese people has given him the urge to learn more Māori language and share his knowledge with the world.

Michael Wikiriwhi-Heta

Name: Lorraine Fairest
From: Auckland, New Zealand
Hobbies: Gym, boating, reading, food
Tribes (Iwi): Ngātiwai, Ngāti Maniapoto
School: Auckland University of Technology (Auckland, NZ)

Lorraine has a bachelor's degree in Māori development, a certificate in tertiary teaching and a postgraduate diploma. She does administration work and teaching at Te Ara Poutama (Faculty of Maori Development), Auckland University of Technology. Lorraine feels she was destined to visit Taiwan, especially after noticing it was in the shape of a sweet potato. To the Māori, the sweet potato is an important staple crop, and one of only 6 things the ancestors brought with them.

Lorraine Fairest


Name: Makarita (Maaki) Howard
From: Northland, New Zealand
Hobbies: Fishing, education, Maori culture in all forms, gardening, weaving, music, and travel
Tribes (Iwi): Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Wai
School: Auckland University of Technology (Auckland, NZ)

Maaki Howard is a Māori elder who will chaperone the students when they travel to Taiwan. She looks forward to her role during the exchange program trip and tracing any evidence of Maori culture in Taiwan. Maaki received a Bachelor's Degree and a Post-Graduate Diploma in Maori Development. Mrs. Howard was a primary school teacher for 24 years, and was a recruitment officer for Auckland College of Education for three years. Maaki has been a lecturer and Ahi Kaa (bearer of Maori traditions) for AUT for 23 years.

Maaki Howard

Name: Tom (Tamati) Howard
From: Northland, New Zealand
Hobbies: Golf, rugby, netball, tennis, boating, fishing, and reading
Tribes (Iwi): Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Te Rarawa
School: Auckland University of Technology (Auckland, NZ)

Tamati Howard is a Māori elder who will chaperone the students when they travel to Taiwan. Tamati is an elder for his extended family with relations to family land and property. He also assists gatherings and functions. Mr. Howard also helps his community by providing work as justice of the peace, helps with Rotary affiliations, and helps with initiatives and activities for primary school education and teacher unions.

Tamati Howard

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