Panekiretanga students participate in ancient Scottish tikanga

By Mānia Clarke-Mamanu

Members of a Māori language school of excellence expedition in Great Britain took part in an ancient ritual on a sacred historical site at West Scotland's Fort Dunadd. 

Māori language expert Paraone Gloyne says it's part of sharing traditional cultural practices to ensure they are kept alive for future generations. Traditional Māori prayer, calls of women and Scottish bagpipes resounded on Fort Dunadd as part of a ritual welcome.

"It was our response to the call from the original Scots to go to that sacred site to fulfil their practices, but at the same time fulfil our practices. That was the first spiritual custom that we've participated in during the time of our journey. It was there that we finally felt the spirit of the Scottish people."

The original Scots migrated to Dunadd from Ireland around AD500 and was the first capital of Scotland.  It's here where their kings were anointed.

"One distinct practice, our feet was washed inside a bowl carved from the sacred slab rocks on the hill outcrop. It was their act of honouring us as visitors. After that our feet were placed in a sacred footprint." 

Last week 39 Māori language school of excellence students led by director Tīmoti Karetu arrived in Ireland. They visited Scotland and are now in Wales as part of researching indigenous language strategies within Great Britain.

"A small number of the people are working energetically to revive their customs, we Māori should do likewise."

The group visit language groups over the next few days, including a Welsh language symposium.