Origins: Heritage of First Nations

a project by Border Crossings

Origins 2011


The most diverse and international festival of the summer - Kea New Zealand Multiculturalism and ethnicity..... wonderfully showcased in all manners and forms - Australian Times


Origins 2011 was an exciting diversity of music, theatre, film, art exhibition and outdoor events. The Festival opened with an inspirational night of ceremony, art and music, featuring the great Maori poet Robert Sullivan, Métis theatre-maker Marie Clements, Inuit throat-singers, and a delicious Polynesian feast!  Over the next two weeks, and collaborating with the City of London Festival, Origins mounted a number of special outdoor events celebrating the heritage of the Maori community in London.


Multiculturalism and ethnicity..... wonderfully showcased in all manners and forms - Australian Times


The Learning and Participation programme focused on this heritage, bringing to the fore the role of customary practice and ceremony as a way to define the ongoing relationship between the Maori community and the UK.In an initial programme of workshops with schools, the project explored traditional forms of ceremony. Students from 3 primary schools in London made model waka, or war canoes, based on their own research, and learnt Maori music and dances, led by Maori heritage experts, Rosanna Raymond, Bruce Simpson, Lawrence Vaike and George Nuku. These workshops culminated in a final ceremony on the River Thames and haka performances on the steps of St Paul's Cathedral.

Between September 2011 and April 2012, 12 students from Malorees Primary School in North West London undertook the Bronze Arts Award in preparation for conducting oral history interviews with members of Ngāti Rānana, London’s Maori cultural club.  Preparation involved tours, guided by Rosanna Raymond, of the Maori collections at the British Museum and of Hinemihi, the Maori meeting house living at Clandon Park, Surrey.  At the end of the project, the students attended a meeting of Ngāti Rānana in New Zealand House, where they were greeted in a traditional pōwhiri and carried out interviews with volunteers from the group.

In part, the project was an opportunity to pass traditional meanings onto a next generation. But it was also intercultural and a contribution to asserting Maori knowledge and skills as a resource for all, part of a two-way flow of cultural traffic, taking heritage out of the museum and into the life of the city.

For the education pack associated with the project click here.


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