Monday, January 21, 2008


Well today was my first day of school.... again. I started back at uni, a mere 15 1/2yrs after graduating last time. I wasn't a very diligent student student first time round it has to be admitted and I'm far from being born for academia so it was with some trepidation that I arrived this morning in the pouring rain. Thanks Sue for the lift - at least I didn't have to worry about getting there on time!

We started with in introduction to what a pōwhiri is and how it would be conducted. I'd expected to be in a minority on several fronts whilst on this course but finding out that those of us who had attended a pōwhiri before were well outnumbered by those who hadn't came as a surprise to me. Especially given that most there were Kiwis! So silent thoughts of thanks were offered up for the Triennial organisors for their pōwhiri and both Pukepoto School and Te Tari Puna Ora o Aotearoa (Kaitaia) for letting me be part of their Noho Marae (residential event on a Marae).

The feeling of being somewhat ahead of the game slightly increased as all the waiata we were to learn (and of course sing at the appropriate points of the actual ceremony) I already knew from volunteering at kindy - including the A, E, I, O, U song (ah-ay-ee-oh-oo) which I'd heard being done rock'n'roll style just days before at the Wellington Soundshell! (don't panic - we just sang that to warm up!). I had worried when applying that being an overseas student without the benefit of having grown up here would be a disadvantage - as I sat there wincing at the Librarian's pronunciation of Te Whāriki each time he said it (aprox Tay Faahr-iki and most definitely not Tee Fa-reekie!) I began to realise just how priviledged I've been over the last four years to have those around me who have taken the time, and given me the opportunities, to learn about tikanga Māori and Te Reo.

One of the e-journals we were set to find during our Library introduction course turned out to be co-written by Sue who I'm staying with. In the WebCT session we were somewhat put on the spot to give our response to a statement on the message board and I found myself using terminology I hadn't really realised I'd assimilated - I'm pretty sure that came from tea-table discussions with Elizabeth and not the pre-course reading I'd done! The universe smiles on me once more....

When for some random reason (as happens with technology - gigo is a dirty lie....) several of us found our online ids and passwords didn't work on the library system (even though they worked everywhere else...) it was suggested it could be linked to whether we'd got our matric-cards or not yet - some had, some hadn't - 'so much for that working theory' I quipped having been talking about that very thing in the car that morning with Sue... blank looks from those I was sitting with, ah well - I'm pretty sure my head start will fizzle out pretty quickly once we've got going. In the meantime it's reassuring to think that if I can remember things from passing conversations then I've a reasonable hope of retaining information actually studied.

So apart from all the ways in which the universe has conspired to make even being on the course possible (which are multitudinous - many thanks to all those earthly beings who have made this possible - you know who you are - and to the spirit behind them) I am feeling extremely grateful right now for all that has put me in a position to start studying with a lot more confidence than I had felt 12hrs ago!

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