Earlier this year for Harmony Day, NCNS hosted a community feast, where community brought with them a plate of food representing their culture. It was a day to celebrate the cultural diversity of our community. We had amazing feedback on the day where 100% of community felt a sense of belonging and inclusion and wanted NCNS to make this a yearly celebration.
Seeing our Harmony day was received so well by our community, this month we decided to do a Pop-Up Poi Workshop at Beacroft Park in Cranebrook where the park transformed into the centre stage for learning the art of Poi. “POI” is the Maori word for “ball”. Poi refers to both a style of performing art and the equipment used for engaging in poi performance. Poi involves swinging tethered weights through a variety of rhythmical and geometric patterns. Poi was used many years ago by the Maori people of New Zealand to increase flexibility and strength in their hands and arms as well as improving coordination. For Women, it helped to keep their hands flexible for weaving and for men, improving the strength and coordination required during battle.
The setup of the workshops was authentic, with mats laid on the floor.
“This is how it is done back home!” remarked one community member.
We were amazed to see people who had come all the way from Fairfield! They expressed that they were so humbled by this workshop as they have been constantly looking for activities for their children to stay connected to culture and music.
The music flowed as we were enchanted by the performance by a member of the Te Kakano O Te Atua Kapa Haka Performing Art’s Group. Members of the community, young and old, came down to participate in the activities and join in the making and learning of the Poi.
The workshop was not only about making Poi and dancing, it was a space to educate community about other cultures and rebuild lost connections. Through this workshop many community members were referred onto cultural dance and language groups in the local area.
With over 50 community members attending on the day, this Poi Workshop was a great success for the community. A big thank you to everyone that came down, made a Poi and shared a part of this amazing culture, together.
We have more Pop-Up workshops in the works, so watch this space!