“The spirit of community coming together in dance, song and storytelling. It’s something we share and have so much in common”
Community Housing Limited (CHL) has partnered with Nyamba Buru Yawuru (NBY) on a cultural exchange hosted by Te Puna Wanaka, Ara Polytechnic in Christchurch, New Zealand.
The seven day exchange brought together ambassadors from NBY and Culture is Life to connect with Māori drawing parallels between their experiences as indigenous peoples.
“The vision early on was from the Yawuru Young Ambassador’s (NBY) really wanting a cultural exchange over here in New Zealand. It was really about learning about different cultures and as indigenous people we can connect,” says Yawuru Young Ambassador Bianca Graham.
“The spirit of community coming together in dance, song and storytelling. It’s something we share and have so much in common,” says Ethan Taylor from Culture is Life.
CHL Community Development Project Manager, Rachel Lattimore says, “The week was a huge success with lots of rich sharing of cultural knowledge and language.”
It didn’t stop there, the exchange also allowed participants to develop an understanding of where both cultures are at in terms of language revitalisation, the importance of the connection to country and culture, understanding the issues related to intergenerational trauma as a result of colonisation, and exploring ways of healing and creating change in response to systemic discrimination.
Jono Pearson from NBY says, “It’s really changed my life learning the culture and how they [Māori] go about their business. My responsibilities is to go back to where I come from, learning my language and taking it to my little ones so we can bring back our culture.”
“For me this experience has been quite amazing and a bit confronting ‘cause us understanding we all have a part to play in knowing who we are in our culture, how we use that to help others in their journey,” says Carol Ann Bernard from NBY.
“The cultural practice and keeping of knowledge, handing that down, there’s definitely some things here in Australia we can learn from, they do it so well over here,” says Tahlia from Culture is Life.
“It’s given me motivation to go back home and do more. Do better for me and invest in myself so that I can be better for other people. [It] proves the fact that first nation should rely on each other – one network, one community”.