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New Zealand Natives visit Seminole reservations

About 8,000 miles from their home, two Natives from New Zealand toured Seminole reservations, learning about the Tribe’s culture along the way while sharing their own culture.

Wikuki Kingi, of Maori/Hawaiian decent, and Tania Wolfgramma, of Maori /Tonga decent, visited the Hollywood Culture Department on Oct. 28. The couple came to share aspects of their culture such as tribal drawings, wood carvings, and canoe building. Bobby Frank, Culture Department manager, gave a tour of the culture camp and shared the Seminole Tribe’s cultural aspects including chickee building, patchwork sewing, and of course fry bread. Alex Osceola explained the designs of traditional Seminole clothing. All Culture staff members partook in a traditional Maori greeting where two people shake hands but also place their foreheads on each other.

A few days later Kingi and Wolfgramma headed west to the American Indian Arts Celebration on the Big Cypress Reservation where they continued to share their experience and knowledge of canoe building. Theirs are ocean going canoes which they sail from New Zealand to Tahiti. The 25-ton ships measure about 80 feet long by 26 feet wide, are double hulled, have two masts and are solar powered.

“We are here to share our experience with Native technology and innovation. We use modern technology to produce the next generation of canoes,” Kingi said.

“This [AIAC] is fantastic. It’s good to keep the culture and cultural values alive, they become the springboard for innovation from theyouth while not letting them forget the past,” he said.

“We take pride in our culture and our technology. There are so many ways to feel well and happy. Essentially, we are all cousins and share the same experience of culture, food, sovereignty and language,” Wolfgramma said.

Hollywood Community Culture Center Manager Bobby Frank, left, and Wikuki Kingi, of Maori/Hawaiian decent from New Zealand, share a traditional Maori greeting Oct. 28 at the Hollywood Culture Department. The greeting’s tradition is for two people to shake hands but also place their foreheads on each other. (Photo Derrick Tiger)
Alex Osceola, left, describes the fabric she uses to make patchwork to Tania Wolfgramma (Maori/Tonga), of New Zealand, during a visit to the Hollywood Culture Department. (Photo Derrick Tiger)
The Hollywood Culture Department gives a tour to visitors from New Zealand of the cultural camp on the reservation. (Photo Derrick Tiger)


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