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Source: Auckland University of Technology (AUT)

02 Jun, 2020

Kevin Kukla and Julia Leonard.

Experiencing Māori culture while studying on exchange at AUT has inspired two filmmakers from the United States.

Julia Leonard and Kevin Kukla made the 10-minute documentary Carving New Paths: A Māori Story as their capstone assignment for Champlain College in Vermont.

The film looks at how Māori are revitalising their culture and forging bonds with other indigenous cultures.

“When we came to AUT and started to learn more about Māori history and culture, we knew it would be an amazing story to tell,” Kevin Kukla says.

“Coming from the US, it was refreshing to see a country that has finally embraced its indigenous culture, and now that culture has the chance to flourish again.”

Carving New Paths: A Māori Story looks at the connection between the two tertiary institutions, and the making and gifting of the carving Te Hononga as a way to connect with the Abenaki, the First People in the area of Burlington, Vermont.

Julia Leonard says she felt at home at AUT and its marae, Ngā Wai o Horotiu.

“We learned so much and could never replicate the experience anywhere else if we tried,” she says.

“The whānau we became a part of holds a special place in our hearts and it’s really what prompted us to dive in and create a video about the very people who made our time at AUT so memorable.”

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