The Political Science Program at Texas A&M University-Kingsville, with the assistance of the University’s Division of International Studies & Programs, is pleased to introduce its Pacific Studies Program - a pioneering collaborative initiative between A&M-Kingsville and the University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand.

The Pacific Studies Program (PSP) is being co-directed by Dr. Nirmal Goswami, Professor of Political Science, A&M-Kingsville and Dr. Elaine Webster, Director, Summer School and Continuing Education, University of Otago. The PSP will include graduate and undergraduate students traveling to and staying in New Zealand from July 5th, 2012, through July 22nd, 2012, attending classes at the University of Otago, and visiting multiple sites through field trips in the greater Otago region. Areas of focus include history, politics, economics, culture, sustainability and environmental policies, etc., with reference to both the greater Pacific region and New Zealand.

Dr. Christine Reiser-Robbins, Anthropology Program, Texas A&M-Kingsville, is directing a Service Learning Project, a special component of the PSP. The PSP will facilitate interaction between middle and high school students from Bishop School District, Texas, and Logan Park High School, Dunedin, Otago, through the application of Internet-enabled technologies.

You are all invited to cyber travel with us as we learn about the uniqueness of New Zealand and the surrounding region. This blog will document our experience. You are welcome to post comments.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Welcomed By Dancers!

Shortly after arriving at the University of Otago (July 9th) we went to an official reception where we were extended a traditional Maori welcome that included a graceful performance by dancers from the University's Pacific Choir dressed in traditional South Pacific attires. The dance was preceded by a prayer and a welcome speech in Maori; we were impressed by the solemnity and warmth of the event. Here, we mingled with the faculty and staff, but were also spoiled with some great tasting finger foods and had a special dance and singing performance by the  University's Pacific Choir. The choir laughed when I asked if they were going to teach us the dance (hey Texans can dance!) haha. As if we were not stuffed already we went to dinner at St. Margaret's, one of the Colleges of the University. Upon our arrival we were informed about standing during prayer. Soon after, with one verbal cueing for prayer, the hall was suddenly silent. That evening I left St. Margaret's with an admiration for their tradition and for their reverence of prayer.
After a nap, the group decided to make up for lost times and go explore Dunedin. We were advised to go to the Octagon which consisted of shops, restaurants, and fun activities. After a few hours of wondering we Texans became hungry again. We were the only ones in the first restaurant we went into! We decided that this must mean bad food. So we went to one down the street. In a second restaurant again...we were the only ones! However we decided to stay! 30 minutes later a flock of students and families came in. We were thrilled! The night ended up being a good one...we got to see the city and talked and met new people...we were even invited for some volleyball!
-Adriana M.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, that's an awesome way to be welcomed by the University! For those of us unfamiliar with traditional Maori song and dance, are there any videos or audio clips you can post? Would be pretty sweet...

    -Aaron Hawley