A rousing powhiri haka performed by NZ and overseas exchange students from Argentina, Austria, Denmark, France, Germany and the Netherlands was the highlight of the Rotary Youth Exchange (RYE) marae weekend attended by District Governor Gary and Jan.  The marae weekend was held from 9 to 11 August.
In front is DG Gary with the students with Jan to his right, then Tracey Faber, Rotary Youth Exchange Chair and Helen Eketone from the marae.  Helen was ably assisted by Kororiamai Herewini and Malia Hehea in making the weekend a memorable experience for the students.
DG Gary and Jan were welcomed by the students on to Te Tahawai Marae which is set in the grounds of Edgewater College, Pakuranga.  The students were part of the welcoming powhiri where they performed a waiata together with tī rākau (stick games) and poi culminating in a fierce haka by the boys.  The Sunday powhiri also delighted student host families and counsellors from across the clubs in the district that are hosting the students – Drury, Newmarket, Pukekohe, Pakuranga, St Johns and Waiheke Island.
The weekend provides both inbound and outbound students with a cultural experience which will never be forgotten and is a practical and meaningful way of realising the RYE programme goals of developing international goodwill and understanding.  Something that is certainly needed in today’s world and which DG Gary says makes the RYE an extremely valuable Rotary programme which he encourages all clubs to support.
Check out the RYE website at www.youthexchange.org.nz for more information for outbound exchanges or to have the world come to your club through the rewarding experience of hosting an exchange student.