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Taiwan, New Zealand indigenous groups reaffirm deep cultural ties

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Select members of the Amis people from Hualien County's Halawan tribal village joined a group of young Maoris from New Zealand on Wednesday at the Executive Yuan as part of the Hawaiki Project, a cultural exchange program that explores the common roots of the indigenous cultures of Taiwan, New Zealand, and the connected communities along the Austronesian migration pathway between the two. Premier Su Tseng-chang said that Executive Yuan Spokesperson Kolas Yotaka was a leading supporter of the program during her time as a member of the Legislature.

Wednesday's meeting marks the second time that an indigenous delegation from New Zealand has made a trip to Taiwan under the Hawaiki Project. This year, with the assistance of Taiwan's Council of Indigenous Peoples, the group has come as the first stop on a two-week cultural exploration tour. Premier Su said that the extensive ties between Taiwan and New Zealand held deep significance that instilled a sense of great honor. He also expressed hope that these exchanges would provide even more opportunities for the young people of both nations to gain a greater understanding of one another.

In receiving the New Zealand delegation, Spokesperson Kolas accepted the traditional Maori custom of hongi, a greeting between two people involving touching noses, from Arapeta Hamilton, the hereditary leader of the Maori sub-tribe Ngati Manu. The Maori also gave a kapa haka performance—a war dance—to demonstrate their brotherhood with the indigenous people of Taiwan while at the same time expressing their great appreciation to the Executive Yuan for its promotion of Austronesian culture.

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