Kia ora everyone!!  How have you been doing?  I’m Tsukino from Te Kuiti High School. It has already been more than eight months since I came to New Zealand.  I have had quite a few experiences here so I would like to tell you about some of them.
Firstly, let me tell you about my lovely Maori family.  I live with my host mother Pania, host father Mitchell, host brother Qaiyaan, two host sisters TeRito and Taniko.  Pania works at Te Kuiti High School and I go to school with her.  She always listens to me so I like talking with her.  Mitch is a Maori carver and tattooist.  He is good at cooking and I always look forward to eating dinner.  Qaiyaan is very energetic.  He is good at rugby and I like watching his rugby games.  TeRito is my younger sister but she is taller than me.  I thought she was my older sister when I first met her.  She is good at Kapa Haka and I like her beautiful singing voice.  Taniko is also my younger sister and she is cheerful.  I like playing with her.  Also, there are heaps of animals in the neighborhood.  I sometimes run with ostriches. lol  It is one of my good memories.
Secondly, I would like to talk about my school life in New Zealand.  As I wrote above, I go to Te Kuiti High School with my great partner Saki.  I take math, tourism, DTE, hospitality, photography and ESOL.  I like all of the subjects but especially I like hospitality and ESOL.  In our ESOL class, there are six Samoan students, two Japanese students, one Fijian student and one Filipino student.  We can learn about the cultures of our countries.  In the last term, we made the dishes of our own countries and shared them for lunch.  There were many dishes which I had never seen before and I really enjoyed eating them.  At hospitality, I can cook a lot of dishes.  I learned how to make coffee in the last term.  I hang out with my kiwi friends at interval and lunch time.  I have been having an awesome time at Te Kuiti High school.
I have joined the Kapa Haka club, in which I practiced Maori’s traditional performance.  I thought I wanted to join this club since I was in Japan.  I competed in two competitions and a festival called ‘Tainui Waka Regional Kapa Haka 2017’, ‘Maniapoto Secondary Schools Cultural Festival (WAIWAIA)’ and ‘Te Nehenehenui Tribal Festival’.  We practiced hard and we sometimes stayed at marae to practice Kapa Haka.  Singing and remembering Maori songs were easy but using poi was so hard for me.  I used a single poi in the first competition but I had to use two pois at WAIWAIA and Te Nehenehenui.  I had never used these and I’m clumsy, so I couldn’t keep up with my friends.  However, they taught me enthusiastically even if I couldn’t do it properly.  To be honest, I sometimes thought I didn’t want to do Kapa Haka anymore but I was able to continue and enjoy doing Kapa Haka thanks to them.  Also, I participated in many Maori important events such as powhiri through the Kapa Haka club so I’m very glad that I joined this club.

Next, I would like to talk about the hard time that I had in New Zealand.  I didn’t have any confidence in myself and my English ability when I first arrived here so I couldn’t talk so much with my family and friends.  I knew English was my second language so it was alright to make mistakes.  However, I was always afraid of making mistakes because I thought everyone would make fun of me.  I knew what I should do in my head but I couldn’t bring myself to do it.  I was disappointed in myself and I came to think I couldn’t do anything because I was so shy and quiet.  Then, my host mother said to me, “Oh Tsukino, we have come to learn that you are shy and that’s ok.  This is part of who you are.  It is alright to make mistakes because sometimes we don’t learn without making mistakes.  I know exactly how you feel about talking in English to people speaking English fluently since I also get very shy around people who are fluent speakers of Maori.  I think you are very brave and we will make more opportunities for you to have a go.  Chin up!  It’s a new day tomorrow.”  These words gave me confidence and I thought I had to do what I could do now.  Yes, it was so hard for me to become positive but I think I’ve built a good relationship with my friends and host family thanks to my host mother and my own efforts.

I have only one month until I go back to Japan.  Although it was very hard to spend time together with people who have different cultures but I’ve learned a lot of things from them and learned to see things from different angles.  I will never forget these experiences I had here.  Thanks to everyone who has supported me!!

See you guys soon

Tsukino Shimasaki




私はカパハカ部に入り、マオリの伝統的な歌や踊りを練習しました。日本にいたときから参加したかったものです。大会に2回、フェスティバルに1回参加しました。「Tainui Waka地区カパハカ大会2017」、「Maniapoto中学校文化祭(WAIWAIA)」と「Te Nehenehenui部族大会」です。一生懸命練習し、時々マラエ(マオリ族の集会所)で合宿することもありました。歌ったり、マオリの歌を覚えたりするのは簡単でしたが、ポイを使うのが難しかったです。最初の大会ではポイは1つでよかったのですが、あとの2回はポイを2つ使わなければいけませんでした。それまでポイを使ったことがなく、それに私は不器用なので、友達についていけませんでした。しかし、友達は、私がうまくできなくても、熱心に教えてくれました。正直言うと、もうカパハカをやりたくないと思ったことも何回かありました。でもカパハカを続けて楽しかったのは、友達のおかげです。また、カパハカ部で、ポウヒリ(マオリの歓迎式)などのマオリの大切な行事にもたくさん参加できたので、この部に入ってよかったです。