The Māori delegation consisted of eight tourism entrepreneurs, ancestral leaders, and educational experts, who visited the Angol Campus of Universidad de La Frontera for an intercultural summit.
Within the framework of the World Tourism Day, the Angol Campus of Universidad de La Frontera (UFRO) received the Māori delegation, which consisted of eight Māori leaders, who came for this historical visit to promote the understanding and cooperation between indigenous cultures: the Māori people from New Zealand and the Mapuche people from Chile.
The summit started with a “Llellipún”, which is an ancestral ceremony in the Mapuche culture. It was led by the Mapuche leader (“machi” in the Mapuche language Mapuzungun) Marcos Millapi of the Chacaico community in Angol. This symbolically and spiritually rich ceremony served as a cultural bridge that connected the Māori community with the Mapuche community and the other attendees of the event.
At the same time, the visitors performed the traditional “Pōwhiri”, a Māori welcome ceremony, which is a symbol of peace, respect, and mutual acknowledgement. At the event, it was also a sign of deep gratitude to the Mapuche community of Chacaico and the other attendees of the ceremony on the Angol Campus of UFRO.
The Māori leader and tourism entrepreneur John Tapiata commented: “This gathering was a unique experience that reminds us of our home, since we respect our land and ancestors in New Zealand the same way as the Mapuche people here in Chile. We understand and see that our ancestors are connected with them and they are very happy with this gathering in Angol”.
After the ceremonies, they got together for two meetings, organized by Angol Campus, the International Affairs Office, and the Department of Education of Universidad de La Frontera, in cooperation with the Malleco Chamber of Tourism. During these meetings, they emphasized the importance of this visit for the promotion of intercultural understanding and the cooperation in the fields of tourism and education.
The first meeting took place with the Māori leaders and representatives of the local tourism industry, where they explored the cultural influence of the Māori and their experience in the field of tourism. They also discussed collaboration opportunities and shared ideas on how to promote and respect different cultures in the context of tourism.
In the second meeting, the local community had the opportunity to learn more about the influence of the Māori people in the field of education. Therefore, the Maori leaders shared their experiences regarding the promotion of indigenous culture and education in New Zealand with the participating students and teachers from different schools in Angol, through a fruitful dialogue on how to strengthen the cultural identity through education.
Sergio Bravo Pino, the director of the Angol Campus of Universidad de La Frontera, was honoured by the visit of the Māori delegation. “They came here to show us their experience regarding their educational system and how they approach tourism in their country, which is something that might be useful for the province of Malleco as well. We can really learn from them during this visit”, he commented.
“It was a very emotional and meaningful day, and we are very pleased with the invitation of Universidad de La Frontera, who provided this space for cultural exchange in terms of tourism and education. Meetings like this allow us to learn from the experiences of other cultures and traditions”, explained Katia Guzmán Geissbühler, the director for Outreach and Community Engagement of the commune of Angol.
During their visit, the Māori delegation also visited the Mapuche community of Chacaico and the Historical Museum Dillman S. Bullock of the commune of Angol, where they were able to immerse in the ancestral, cultural, and agricultural history of the commune.
Written and translated by: UFRO Communications Office