National | Conference

Tribal Youth Gatherings leave Māori students inspired

A group of Māori students have just returned home from America where they attended Tribal Youth Gatherings.

The likes of Michelle Obama stood and presented inspiring speeches and reminded these youngsters that it's important to continue nurturing their culture.

They're back on home soil, with a renewed sense of passion for their culture.

One of the students, Tayla-Rose Campbell says, "For me it was just an exchange of culture and actually understanding that youth out there are going through the same things that Māori youth here are going through."

They got to rub shoulders with many prominent leaders, including the first lady of the USA, Michelle Obama.

"When Michelle said just know that you have a president and a first lady behind your back I was like far we don't even have that," Campbell adds.

The girls were 2 of 5 Maōri students who attended the Tribal Youth Gathering and the United Native Indian Tribal Youth conference.

"It was cool because we were able to share with them what we have here such as Kura Kaupapa Māori, Kōhanga Reo and we have all these things that they don't and that they haven't been allowed to have," Moerangi Vercoe says excitedly.

There's now a burning desire to share this experience with Māori in New Zealand.

Vercoe says "What we wanted to do is have our own sort of conference here for Māori and hopefully bring some native Indians to us so we can be more connected and bring out the U in unity"

Along with their new appreciation of their heritage, they also brought back with them some pretty special memorabilia.  A personal letter from the president himself.