Punahou School welcomed students from a Maori group in New Zealand (Aotearoa) for a meaningful exchange of learning and culture.
The 15 students and their teachers, who visited Punahou on October 1, are affiliated with the Kapa haka club at the Hamilton Boys and Girls Schools in Hamilton, New Zealand. Kapa haka, the traditional performance art of the Maori people, expresses cultural heritage through song and dance.
Academy Hawaiian-language students greeted the visitors with lei and escorted the group to the Lily Pond, where they heard about the origins of the School from President Jim Scott ’70 and were welcomed with Hawaiian oli and mele by Punahou third-graders and their kumu. Kumu Tai Crouch performed a special chant, and the visitors responded in kind.
Later that morning, the Kapa haka group toured the campus, met with Punahou students in Hawaiian language and culture classes and performed during Senior Assembly at Dillingham Hall.
The visit concluded with lunch in Kuaihelani Learning Center, where the group was joined by Academy Hawaiian-language students and other interested members of the Punahou ‘ohana.
The exchange presented “an exciting opportunity for us to welcome Maori cousins to our campus,” said Emily McCarren, director of Wo International Center, which coordinated the visit. “I am delighted that our students had this opportunity to interact.”