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April 23, 2013 > Experience the land of the hobbits at New Zealand culture event

Experience the land of the hobbits at New Zealand culture event

Submitted By Karen McCready

Members of the Friendship Force of the San Francisco Bay Area intend to become as steeped in New Zealand culture as possible before club members from Horowhenua, on the North Island of New Zealand, visit their Bay Area homes in May. The general public is invited to join on April 27 when they will present an afternoon of New Zealand culture and dance. To fulfill their goal of breaking down barriers that separate people, this international organization encourages its members to learn about their guests' culture before they host them and about their hosts' culture before they travel to stay in members' homes abroad.

The New Zealand program will feature indigenous Maori culture, which flourished particularly on the North Island. The Maoris are well represented in their traditional ceremonies and meeting houses to this day, as well as in the dramatic and colorful haka, an introductory ritual that the players perform to strike fear into the opposing team at all New Zealand rugby games. This rich folk culture is bound to have influenced the fanciful adventures of "The Hobbit" and Tolkien's other tales of Middle Earth, all set against the stunning scenery that was the backdrop of their lives.

Guest speaker Craig Stokes is vice president of the New Zealand American Association of San Francisco, which provides a social and networking forum for Kiwis and their American friends in the Bay Area. Stokes will describe their work to promote New Zealand - the people, the culture, the food, the wine, the sport, the place (and the hobbits!). Their mission is to promote good relations between New Zealand and the U.S. through a variety of social and cultural events in the Bay Area.

Guest performers, members of Maori Mo Ake Tonu ("Maori Forever"), will perform traditional Maori songs and dance and introduce us to the language. Performing throughout the Western U.S., they have captivated their audiences with skillful poi dances, story-telling action songs, and, of course, the haka. Everyone will have a chance to join in one dance number and also to ask questions.

The public is invited to immerse themselves in the land of hobbits and Kia Ora!

An Afternoon of New Zealand Culture and Dance
Saturday, Apr 27
1:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Cole Hall at the First United Methodist Church
2950 Washington Blvd., Fremont
(510) 793-0857

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