Hato Hohepa return home from Europe

By Taroi Black

Hato Hohepa students have returned home from a once-in-a-lifetime, three-week trip to Europe.

The group have become "facebook-famous" with their popular performance videos going viral.

An auspicious time as the Māori boarding school celebrates their 150th anniversary.

Principal Dame Georgina Kingi says, "It was fantastic; everything about this trip."

The trip was about retracing Hato Hohepa sisters' journey to Europe marking 150 years since the school's establishment, as well as a special visit to the Vatican.

Student Parekura-Te Miringa Kira Te Whiu says, "(We) experienced a lot of things that were obviously new and potentially innovative."

Thirty students travelled over for the 'Hīkoi' (Journey) which started in Florence, they also included a special day out to Monte Cassino to pay tribute to the Māori Batallion. 

"The trip to Cassino was very emotional to commemorate those who lay at rest there," Mrs Kingi said.

The trip commenced in London where they caught up with former Governor General Jerry Mataparae and Ngāti Rānana cultural group. 

The group had planned this trip-of-a-lifetime for almost a year with the aim of connecting with the sisters of Our Lady of the Missions.