Tag Archives: AUT

International Noho Marae

By: Connor Glasset, Secondary Education Major, Champlain College

Kia ora!

The International Noho Marae paper (course) is one of the most highly sought after classes in the AUT catalogue amongst international students. Over the course of the semester, this paper explores Maori culture and what it means to be Maori in today’s society. The paper is unique in that the majority of the learning about Maori culture is experiential. For one weekend, international students and Maori professors and volunteers come together to learn, hands-on, some aspects of Maori identity. AUT’s International Noho Marae paper along with the weekend experience is the only one of it’s kind in the entirety of New Zealand.  

This semester marked the 30th International Noho Marae, and I was lucky enough to experience it. In total we were 74 students representing 14 different countries. In addition, there was the Maori staff and volunteers with their families, who served as our teachers for the weekend. Also, because this Noho, the 30th of its kind, was such a landmark for the university, alumni were invited to come home, back to Auckland, to assist with this special weekend.    

The weekend began on Friday evening, with a traditional welcoming ceremony called a Powhiri. First, we waited outside the gates of the marae until we were summoned by a challenge made by one of the marae’s warriors. Having accepted the challenge we were allowed entrance to the marae. Next, we were slowly called into the whare, meeting house, by song. The elders, in this case Professor Jason King and Dean of Maori and Indigenous Development, Pare Keiha, welcomed everyone in attendance and asked us all to open our hearts and minds to the weekend’s happenings and teachings in order to enjoy and learn to the maximum extent.  After we were invited to join in the weekend festivities, we moved to the wharekai, eating-house. The meal was a potluck, prepared by the international students, of the traditional or common dishes of each country. Ali Sousa and I made possibly the best spinach artichoke dip known to man; naturally, it was a crowd favorite.  At dinner, we learned the first of many lessons: Don’t stop eating when you’re full, stop eating when you’re tired. Now that is a mantra I can get behind completely.  

Looking down the line as we learned the stick game.

Looking down the line as we learned the stick game.

On Saturday, we reconvened at breakfast. Once again, making sure to pack on the carbs for a long day of experiential learning. Only after we all surpassed the point of over consumption, it was time for tititorea. Tititorea, or the stick game, is a two person game involving four wooden dowels, an extremely catchy Maori tune, heaps of hand-eye coordination and innumerable mulligans. At the start each partner has their own set of wooden dowels. Both partners tap the dowels on the ground twice and then together once before tossing them to their partner one at a time. For example, right hand to right hand exchange followed by a lefthand to left hand exchange. This exchange is where the hand-eye coordination came in as both partners needed to release their dowel at the same time and then catch their partner’s. Once we got that down, and believe me, we all had to work at it a while, we moved on to the chorus and accompanying motions.

Champlain Abroad student Connor Glasset watching others who successfully mastered the handoff.

For the chorus, one partner had to pass both of their sticks together while the other partner passed theirs apart, outside of the partner’s two. In essence one partner was passing theirs in the middle and the other, on the outside.  I think it would be fair to say that we were only semi-successful and that came after a lot of mess-ups, laughter, and observing of others to steal their method. Continue reading

Sea swimming, Skylines, and Sunburn

By: Connor Glasset, Secondary Education Major, Champlain College

A seagull profits from low tide, searching for lunch. Captured by Ali Sousa

A seagull profits from low tide, searching for lunch.
Captured by Ali Sousa

Kia ora!

For our first full weekend together in Auckland, the Champlain Abroad students banded together to pass the day bronzing on the beach. We started out early, catching the 10:30 ferry at the harbor at the bottom of Queen Street, direction Devonport.

After the short 12 minute long ferry ride across the harbor we arrived at the Devonport dock. We meandered along the coast for two kilometers before reaching our sandy destination. In almost perfect unison we kicked off our flip-flops and unfolded our towels. Unfortunately, for the sake of swimming, when we arrived it was low tide. The 70 degree water was only ankle deep allowing us to wander out into the sea a good quarter mile before the waves began to break, wetting us above the waist. We floated, splashed and considered ourselves lucky to be enjoying the summer sun and warm water while our friends back in Burlington were most likely in class wrapped up in multiple layers. As we made our way back to shore we couldn’t help but kick up dozens of sand dollars-both living and dead. Over the next few hours we were in and out of the salty water, spread out soaking up the sun, scouring the shore for sea glass, and fantasizing about owning the cookie cutter bungalows behind us. Continue reading

Settling-in to the Wellesley Student Apartments

By: Connor Glasset, Secondary Education Major, Champlain College

Kia ora!

Finally! After 22 hours of travel, 8 time zones, 2 flights and one bus ride, I arrived at my accommodation in New Zealand. Located on 8 Mount Street in the Central Business District of Auckland are the Wellesley Student Apartments. The massive fourteen-story building is going to be ‘home’ for me and some 500 other AUT students for the next semester. WSA has an interesting cast of characters–international exchange students, native Kiwis, and hoards of first years–guaranteeing that this semester will truly be a unique experience.

AUT building

WSA as seen from the courtyard.

The apartments at WSA are suite-style, much like those of Champlain’s Spinner Place. There are five individual bedrooms, one common living room, one common kitchen, and two shared bathrooms per apartment. I share my apartment with two Kiwis and my fellow Champlainer, Kohl Davis (we still have one vacancy). The bedrooms are fairly well sized, on average slightly bigger than those of Spinner Place, and come equipped with a long-twin sized bed, a desk, a cork board, a shelving unit for storage, and an armoire. Every room also comes with one complete set of dinnerware (one bowl, dinner plate, dessert plate, glass, coffee mug and silverware). In addition, the kitchen was stocked with pots and pans and the extra cooking utensils required to prepare pretty much any student made meal.

Typical bedroom setup, minus the ukulele-playing AUT student. (From: https://www.aut.ac.nz)

Typical bedroom setup, minus the ukulele-playing AUT student.
(From: https://www.aut.ac.nz)

When I arrived, I was a little bummed out that I had forgotten to pack a set of sheets and a towel. I could just hear my mom, “I told you to pack those,” as I tore apart my suitcase in order to enter my clothes in the armoire. Luckily, my Kiwi roommates came to the rescue and told me about a couple of options I had to resolve my linen dilemma. Option one, I could buy a set from the front desk for $120NZD, which he assured me was a rip-off. Option two, I could wander down Auckland’s main drag, Queen Street, and pop into the student’s retail wonderland, The Warehouse, and buy a much more reasonably priced set of linens. Taking his advice, I chose the latter.

Continue reading