University of Auckand hosts annual Māori Day

By Rukuwai Tipene-Allen

What does a modern day urban Māori look like?  Hundreds of Māori students gathered in Auckland to celebrate their culture and heritage through song, dance, and food at Auckland University's 7th annual Māori Day. 

Our reporter Rukuwai Tipene-Allen spoke to some of the students to ask what it means to be Māori in the big city. 

For the over 3,000 Māori at Auckland University, today was a chance to showcase all that makes them who they are.

"It's a way of sharing a Māori perspective and not just with Māori but also with those who want to learn, with those who are in awe of what we have as Māori," says Tauawhi Bonilla.

Since leaving home the university has become a second home for a lot of these students.

"To create a space for Māori to be able to pursue those things like the language, knowledge of where they come from.  For some of us, this is a second home because we aren't at home, some of us are separated from home and some don't even know where we come from, so we hope that people can feel that they are part of the community here at the university," says Ngā Tauira Māori co-president Mohi Allen.

About 300 students have registered to be part of the Ngā Tauira Māori programmes- Allen says it's for all people. 

"What we try to do as Ngā Tauira Māori is create a place when people are free to be Māori."

The kaupapa carries on tonight with Troy Kingi and Aaradhna joining in the celebrations.