An Inspiring Visit to a Māori Marae

Today the Symposium instructors group had a special opportunity to visit a Marae, a Maori community center in Papakura, Auckland. We were welcomed with a Powhiri (Maori greeting) onto the grounds and then entered the Wharenui (Meeting house) followed by some lunch (Kai) and sketching in and around the Wharenui before heading back to the Usk venue to meet all the attendees.

Tony McNeight’s Marae sketch.

Papakura Marae is a lively place where since 1990 people can find health care, cultural venue and sports activities. Today a group was practicing boxing and mothers with kids were hanging around. Almost 15 people have been involved in this welcome ritual. We shook hands or pressed our nose and foreheads (hongi) with everybody and I was surprised to find two people with Italian relatives among this Māori community. “Buongiorno! My grandfather is from Genova” said a guy.

I loved the carved wood statues and particularly the one at the entrance where modern technology (a Boeing 747) and traditional way of transportation (the waka) are hold in different hands by Pakena, to underline the inclusive nature of the Marae.

“There is but one needle through which the white, red an black must pass. Hold to the law, faith and love, forsake all the rest”. The wisdom of this Māori proverb is quite touching being them discriminated for such a long time. “You sketchers from all over the world are the red, the white and the black” said our host.

There is so much to learn about Māori, this first introduction was really interesting and I hope to get the chance to discover more in the next days.


Recent Posts

Drawing Attention June 2023

June 1, 2023

  Drawing Attention, the official zine of the Urban Sketchers organization, communicates...

Read More

Applications Invited for USk New Education Director

May 24, 2023

Urban Sketchers is currently seeking a new Education Director to serve on...

Read More

Grand Reveal: 12th Urban Sketchers International Symposium

April 23, 2023

Watch the Reveal Video Chapter Greetings As we thank Urban Sketchers Auckland...

Read More

Usk Symposium. A Sketch tutorial day in the Park

April 20, 2023

After assembling in appointed groups we all headed to workshop destinations with...

Read More