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No. 66 (March 1969)
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American Indians
Visit New Zealand

One of the most interesting recent events was the visit to New Zealand of nine American Indian leaders, all involved in welfare work for their people in various Indian organisations.

Their trip was sponsored by the Ford Foundation of New York, who also sent ten Maori men on a visit to Indian reservations to see their welfare and education services.

Before the Americans returned home, all met in Wellington with a small committee for evaluation of their experiences, to compare their observations of each others' culture and to suggest ideas for ‘problem solving’ in their two countries.

The ten New Zealanders chosen were Henry Northcroft, Senior Maori Welfare Officer in Rotorua; Canon Hohepa Taepa, Anglican Maori Missioner in Wellington; Timoti Nikora, an officer in the Inland Revenue Department and completing an Accountants Professional degree at Victoria University; Robert Mahuta, lecturer in Anthropology at the University of Auckland; Lewis Moeau of the Department of

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Frank Ducheneaux, the oldest member of the touring party, shows his feather bonnet to first-year trainees at the Maori Carpentry School at Seaview, Lower Hutt

Maori and Island Affairs at Gisborne; Turoa Royal, M.A., Assistant Officer for Maori Education at Auckland; the Rev. Tamati Hawea, a Presbyterian minister from Kawerau; and two students, George Asher of Turangi, head prefect of St Stephen's School, Auckland; and Vernon Winitana, a prefect at Hutt Valley High School.

In the Indian party were Frank Ducheneaux, the oldest member, and a chief of the Eagle Butte Sioux, who unfortunately became ill during the trip and returned home early; William Alcaida of the Chemehuevi Tribe, a successful farmer, and a leader in the Colorado River Tribal Council; Philip Cook, a Mohawk who has been a structural steel worker and has worked for his people for 17 years; Raymond Kane, a White Mountain Apache, currently the Executive Director of his tribe's Community Action Programme; Joe Sando, of the All Indian Pueblo Council, a recognised author and historian who graduated in Business Education and did post-graduate studies in Audiology and Speech Pathology; Jess Sixkiller, a Cherokee, Director of

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Their first look at a Maori action song, during a visit to the Mawai Hakona Maori Association at Silverstream
National Publicity Studios

American Indians United, who is a policeman; Ernest Stevens, an Oneidan Indian who has been prominent in many organisations and is now Economic Development Specialist for the Indian Community Action Project at Arizona State University; Seforino Tenorio, Pueblo Indian, currently working with the University of New Mexico, co-ordinating Community Action Programmes in 19 Pueblo, Apache and Ute tribes; and Roger Tsabetsaye of Zuni Pueblo, who is a skilled artist and craftsman in the jewellery for which his people are famous.

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All were interested in the trade training schemes and most impressed with the standard of work done by the trainees
Talking over details outside an almost completed house at Wainuiomata

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All were interested in the trade training schemes and most impressed with the standard of work done by the trainees
Chatting to second-year boys on the job is Seforino Tenorio

The visitors were driven round New Zealand by Mr Kara Puketapu, who had visited the United States under a Harkness Fellowship, and was the Ford Foundation's New Zealand representative. After a three-day briefing session in Wellington, during which they met the United States Ambassador, Mr J. F. Henning, were entertained by the Màwai-Hakona Maori Association at Silver-stream, and saw carpentry Trade Trainees at the Maori Training Centre and building houses at Wainuiomata, the Indians left for an 18-day mini-bus tour of the North Island.

Ratana Pa, Wanganui, was the first stop, and from there the party went through Taranaki to Taumarunui, inspecting Maori Incorporation Blocks en route. After a busy three days in the Taumarunui area visiting schools, maraes and development programmes, the visitors arrived at Turangawaewea Pa on 26 February, where they

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With Ihaia Puketapu, kaumatua of Waiwhetu marae, before leaving on their tour. From left; Ernie Stevens, Jess Six-killer, Bill Alcaida, Raymond Kane, Philip Cook and Frank Ducheneaux

were presented to Queen Te Atairangikaahu.

On their arrival at Auckland, the Indians were surprised and delighted to be challenged at Mangere by Mr King Stabler, an Omaha Indian who has lived in Auckland for some years. After a short trip to Northland, the group visited Rotorua, Taupo, where they were given a great welcome to the Waiariki District Maori Council's meeting at Waipahihi, then crossed through the Urewera country to Waikaremoana.

Visits to Gisborne, Wairoa, Napier and Hastings followed, with welcomes at Poho-o-Rawiri and Taihoa maraes, and the party finally arrived back in Wellington on 10 March, calling at Te Aute College en route. The next day they were guests of the Prime Minister, Mr K. J. Holyoake, at an afternoon reception.

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Canon Hepa Taepa, one of the returning Maoris, greeting Bill Aleaida after the mihi at Waiwhetu

Meanwhile the ten New Zealanders had arrived back from their United States trip, and were welcomed home on the Waiwhetu marae. Accompanying them were Mr Myron Jones, an Iriquois Indian, who had escorted them through the United States, and Mr Roland Wright, a lecturer at Wade University, Iowa, who with Professor John McCreary of Victoria University were to assist the group in their two days of evaluation. After the mihi, and the enthusiastic meeting, the men broke up into small groups to compare notes, meeting for combined sessions in Arohanui ki te Tangata.

That evening, all were guests of the American Ambassador and Mrs Henning at an informal reception and an even more informal ‘get together’ afterwards, where both groups entertained with story and song.

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The last part of the evaluation session was open to observers

In a quieter moment, Canon Taepa and Philip Cook demonstrated the similarity of Maori and Indian ancient waiata. Both groups spoke of the strange feeling of affinity they had experienced with those they visited, and of the warm and friendly hospitality they had been shown.

Another day of evaluation and a renewal of friendship with a busload from Taumarunui

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Raymond Kane says goodbye to Mr Henning. At left is Mrs Jean Puketapu

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Passing a sea of hands, Roger Tsabatsaye is about to farewell Kara Puketapu

who had come to say goodbye, was climaxed by a crowded evening at Aroha ki te Tangata, during which the ten New Zealanders presented Myron Jones with a carved stick, in thanks for his help.

The last goodbyes were said at Wellington Airport, where a large crowd gathered for hugs and kisses, songs and haka. So a memorable trip came to an end, with all the participants hoping that it will be only the first of many.

In our next issue we hope to have more detailed comment on the evaluation session, and an account of the New Zealanders' trip through America.