World comes together at Womad opening

LEIGHTON KEITH
Last updated 05:00 14/03/2014
Boomerang Project
DOMINIKA ZIELINSKA/Fairfax NZ
WARM WELCOME: Members of the Boomerang Project, from left, Shellie Morris, Dubs Yunupingu and Rhoda Roberts embrace following a powhiri at Waitara’s Owae Marae.

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Waitara was transformed into a melting pot of the world's cultural diversity yesterday.

Basking under a warm Taranaki sun busloads of Womad artists were officially welcomed on to Owae Marae with a powhiri.

Vickie Kahupukoro said the ceremony was performed by students from five schools including Waitara High, Manukorihi, St Joseph's, Waitara East and New Plymouth's Kura Kaupapa Te Pi'ipi'inga Kakano Mai Rangiatea.

"It's always been a great experience for the kids to come and share our culture with the many cultures of the world," she said.

The ceremony heralded the start of the festival and struck a chord with many of the international performers.

Shellie Morris, of the Boomerang Project, said it had been a powerful experience.

"It was awesome, to see the generational strength is very encouraging to us, it's great to see the young people standing strong in their culture," Morris told the Taranaki Daily News.

"It would be wonderful if all of our youth in Australia could see that to remind us to be proud of who we are."

Morris said she had always dreamed of coming to New Zealand. "It's stunning."

Rhoda Roberts said she was moved to see both Maori and Pakeha taking part in the welcome.

"It's something that we would love to see happen at home, it's incredible, it's a wonderful model," Roberts said.

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- Taranaki Daily News

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