Excursion an opportunity to build cultural and geographical experience, says principal
Excitement is building as Burlington Christian Academy (BCA) plans a trip to New Zealand for March, 2010. The 14-day excursion is a strong opportunity to grow cultural and geographical experience, says principal Gord McNeice.
McNeice taught in New Zealand for a time, so he has the knowledge and contacts to make the visit fairly inexpensive as well as rich with opportunities to delve into the culture and explore the land.
The visit will include several activities to enhance understanding of the people native to New Zealand, the Maoris. Two of these activities will be a Maori concert and a Maori feast, known as a hangi, which involves food, such as kumara or sweet potatoes, that have been cooked in the ground with hot stones.
Participants will also have the chance to observe the impact of the country’s history on the current culture, according to McNeice, who points out that the indigenous people have a much stronger voice in the country than is typically seen among the people native to North American countries.
He says this is largely due to the differences in the treaties signed between the native people and the later settlers.
“It’s a totally different history,” says McNeice, noting that intermarriage between the Maori and other cultures, including European and Polynesian people, is very high and it’s difficult to find any person who is 100-per-cent Maori.
McNeice also says the trip is a terrific opportunity to be exposed to a wide range of geographical features. Within its comparatively small space, New Zealand includes mountains, coastline and rainforest.
The BCA crew will also visit the thermal region of New Zealand where they’ll be able to see performing geysers, boiling mud pools, smoking fumaroles, and hot water springs.
They will tour a Maori village and learn about how residents have traditionally lived off thermal resources, using them to wash their clothes and heat their homes.
The Canadians will also attend a New Zealand school for a day.
To date there are 16 students from BCA’s Grades 6, 7 and 8 classes taking the trip, along with about 12 parents. A number of new students are enrolled at the school for this fall so the opportunity to take part in the event will also be opened to them.
Cost for the trip is about $3,000, which includes airfare.
In addition to growing their cultural and geographical knowledge, students will be able to build life-skills as groups will be responsible for shopping for and preparing their own meals.