New Zealand High Commission Pretoria, South Africa

New Zealand Māori Television film project in Eastern Cape Province

A group of six Māori teenagers recently visited South Africa to feature in a documentary for New Zealand’s Māori Television channel. The exchange visit was funded by New Zealand’s Te Mangai Paho, the Māori Broadcasting Funding agency, as a result of an initial scoping visit by producer George Andrews funded by the New Zealand Government. New Zealand has had a longstanding relationship with the Eastern Cape through its aid programme, as well as the Volunteer Service Abroad (VSA) programme.

Team leader Rawiri Wright said the purpose of the visit to South Africa was to give the New Zealand students an opportunity to experience life in South Africa. “The trip is meant to expose our kids to other types of teaching. Eventually a TV series will be aired in New Zealand where each of them will be featured in different settings out and about in East London,” Wright said.

17-year-old Juneea Silbery said that “The lifestyle here is different but the two countries are culturally similar in terms of family orientation. It is a shock to see the huge gap between the rich and the poor. It makes us know how lucky we are and it makes us more appreciative.”

The youths went to school and interacted with locals to experience true township living for a week before moving on to Transkei. The New Zealanders, who stayed in Mdantsane Township for the first part of their three-week visit to the Eastern Cape, introduced township children from Ebenezer Majombozi High School to New Zealand’s world-famous rugby war-cry – the haka. In reply, two Ebenezer Majombozi pupils introduced the visitors to a traditional Xhosa dance, umxhentso. The overseas visitors were also introduced to traditional South African food including isidudu and umphokoqo, two dishes made using mealie (maize) meal.

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