Current position of the SSV Robert C. Seamans. Click on the vessel to view position history. Use the tools, top right, to change the map style or view data layers. Dates and times use GMT (Greenwich Mean Time).
SEA Currents: SSV Robert C. Seamans
December 10, 2014
Hongis and Happiness
45° 52.7’S x 170° 30.8’E
Cloudy and chilly
Sail Plan & Course/Speed
Alongside in Dunedin
Wow, what a day! This morning we hopped on the bus and headed to the Karitane Marae, a place of community celebrations and worship for the local Maori tribe (iwi), the Ngai Tahu. We were first welcomed into an old school building for an introduction ceremony. The ceremony involved a leader of their iwi greeting us in the Maori language, and then the rest of the group joined him in singing us a song. Kane, a member of the local Maori
community who is friends with our Guest Faculty Jason Mancini, introduced our class to the iwi and we sang a sea shanty for them. I was impressed with how well our group sang, especially considering we had just learned the shanty on the bus ride that morning! Each group then lined up and exchanged hongi, which in case you didn’t read Kylie’s post yesterday is an exchange of the breath of life in an embracing of nose to nose and forehead to forehead. Although a lot of us were nervous about the intimacy of this greeting (especially compared to the good ole American hand shake), we all agreed that that the hongi was a pleasant greeting that immediately made us feel welcomed into the community.
We then went on a stunning scenic walk called the Huriawa, across land that was returned to the Ngai Tahu as a part of the 1998 Maori Claims Settlement. Following the walk, we visited their church and then entered the Marae. During the ceremony in the Marae, the iwi leaders presented Jason with a Korowai, a homemade feather cloak, and woven basket. We concluded the day with another exchange of hongi and returned to the boat for dinner. Although they had graced us with delicious sweets, meat pies, and tea throughout the day, we still had room for more.
Kane, his daughter, and Betty joined us for dinner – rice and cockles (local clams), the latter picked by Kane and some of our fellow shipmates yesterday! After dinner we were able to express our gratitude to Kane and
Betty for the amazing day. We unanimously agree that Dunedin has been the best port stop so far. Learning about and experiencing the Maori culture was truly magnificent. We could not believe how kind and generous the members of the iwi were. Their appreciation for nature, kinship, generosity, and faith was truly inspiring. If we all lived a bit more like the Ngai Tahu this world would surely be filled with simplicity and smiles.
I want to leave everyone at home to reflect upon this beautiful statement that Kane expressed to us today:
“Life isn’t measured by the money we have, or the cars that we have, or the clothes that we have. It is measured by the amount of people we serve.”