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New Zealand natives share insight to ancient ways

Kara Fox
Sierra Sun

Dancing, singing, chanting, storytelling. These simple acts are intended to inspire the community to reach for something deeper this week as two Maori visitors impart their people’s wisdom in North Tahoe and Truckee during four separate programs.

Ruth Tai, a Maori elder and transformation coach, and Hirini Reedy, a Maori strategist, philosopher and martial arts teacher, will present two programs, Rich Earth Oratory and Haka for Life. Tai and Reedy are founding trustees of Rich Earth Alliance, a non-profit organization in New Zealand aimed at bringing people a deeper sense of community and connection to the earth.

“I feel that in Tahoe there is interest and passion in the environment,” said Rachel Flower, a Brockway resident who is friends with Tai and Reedy. “I have a lot of respect for their work.”

Flower met Tai and Reedy while living in New Zealand and asked them to visit Tahoe to share their knowledge and storytelling of the Maori culture. She worked with various local residents and business owners to set up programs this week in Truckee, Tahoe City, Incline Village and Squaw Valley.

“Hirini is very interesting in the way he teaches. He takes on bird songs and the movement and their energy. He brings that warrior presence, while bringing humor,” Flower said. “It is very fascinating.”

The Rich Earth Oratory will include two hours of chant, song, dance and storytelling that “reveal the mysteries ancient Maori coded as a treasure map for their descendants,” according to a news release. Haka For Life, which will be a full-day presentation, is about activating energy using specific breathing, thinking and movement patterns. The motions can be performed as prayer or play.

Don Triplat, who does healing energy work in Truckee, said he is excited for the Maori visit and encourages youth to attend.

“Kids absorb stories and thoughts and ideas in their own way,” Triplat said. “It doesn’t have to be a critical mind looking at it.”

Jacquie Chandler, of the Incline Village Environmental Subcommittee, and David M. Talon, owner of iGrowth Strategies in Incline Village, both said it is important to learn various ways to take care of the earth and believe a lot can be learned from the Maori people.

“The basic premise for me is that I believe that we are stewards of our earth,” Talon said. “We need to take care of the environment and need to take care of our earth. One of the things that impress me with New Zealand is how well they have taken care of their land. It amazes me.”

Flower agrees and encourages everyone to participate in one of the programs.

“It gives people a gist of the Maori heritage,” Flower said. “The more we can use ancient wisdom in a modern way, the better.”


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