Our Community Introduction:
Our Queenstown – a beauty by nature and a world class tourism destination that is powered by a hearty community who thrive in the mountains through collaboration, respect and passion for people and place. We asked our community to share what life is like for them here and what community and culture means to them.
Cory | 6 years Local | Your Arrowtown Neighbour
Cory first came to Queenstown for work, he stayed a few years before returning to the North Island, the pull of family and a quality of life, quite unique to our region, drew him back. He has since found so much more through connecting with our community, with people who were able to nurture Cory’s personal growth in Te Ao Maori. Cory is now given back to our local community through his passion projects that centre around Maori culture and providing a pathway to learning Te Reo Maori (Maori language).
Tēnā koutou katoa. Ko au he uri o Porourangi me Awanuiarangi hoki. Ahakoa nō te Tairāwhiti ahau, kei tēnei wāhi ataahua, e noho ana au inaianei. Tēnei te mihi ki a koutou.
Hello to you all. My tribal affiliations are Ngāti Porou and Ngāti Awa. Although I am from the East Coast, this beautiful place is now my home. Greetings to you all.
A few years ago, I was fortunate to complete the local Māori Language classes through Te Wānanga o Aotearoa and SIT here at the Queenstown campus. In 2019, the local council gave me an opportunity to facilitate beginner Māori language classes at the Frankton library. This has proven to be a popular option for locals to learn Māori language for free without requiring enrolment.
The free classes will start up again in February 2020, every Thursday from 5.30pm – 7pm.
Over the years a large number of locals have completed the Māori language courses. Their enthusiasm for Māori culture saw them create a waiata (singing) group that meets most Saturdays to sing and perform Māori waiata (songs). Two years ago, I was recruited to the group to sing and play guitar. While we dont consider ourselves to be professional singers, we are often seen performing at local events and supporting tangata whenua (local Māori) when requested.
On Sundays, when most people are relaxing at home, I spend my time practicing the Māori art of weaponry (Mau Rākau). Māori weaponry or Mau Rākau can be likened to a traditional Martial Art. We are a small but active group of Mau Rākau practitioners. We practice our art to the style of Te Whare Tū Taua o Aotearoa and we attend gradings around New Zealand every year. Our group can be seen practicing at the Recreation Grounds in Queenstown most Sundays (weather permitting).
At first appearances, it is hard to find Māori kaupapa (activities) in the region. However, the reality is that there are a lot of people who are actively involved in and promoting Māori kaupapa. And it is inspiring to know that many non-Māori are at the forefront of this work in the region.