Marina shared a moment

Education New Zealand Manapou ki te Ao | May 2021

Photo of Marina | Wellington
When I was 6 years old I watched Lord of the Rings for the first time and fell in love with beautiful Aotearoa.
Kia ora! When I was 6 years old I watched Lord of the Rings for the first time and fell in love with beautiful Aotearoa. My dream was to come here one day and visit all the shooting locations. When the Hobbit movies were released, I got to know Māori actor Manu Bennett and that was the first time I heard about Māori. I did some research and learned about Māori culture and tikanga and I personally believe the world needs more of that! My path was clear for me: I wanted to go to New Zealand and marry a Māori and own a sheep farm. I worked really hard and was finally able to travel to Aotearoa and due to fate or coincidence, I stayed because I met the love of my life here and he happens to be Māori. My whānau overseas couldn't believe it when I told them that I actually did find my Māori man because my dream came true and it is such an unusual dream because most people overseas have never heard of Māori. This is my personal love story and I want to be fully immersed into my tāne's culture. During lock down he taught me a lot of Te Reo and I also ended up taking Te Reo classes. I was also part of several Noho Marae Weekends and there is not one day when we don't say our karakia before kai. Tikanga me te Reo Māori has become part of my daily life and I couldn't imagine it without them anymore! I sometimes seem to be a stranger to my own whānau in Europe. Indigenous people are so rich and offer so much I think everyone who comes to and/or lives in Aotearoa needs to acknowledge that and do the best they can for New Zealand's unique culture.