The Collegian
Tuesday, May 28, 2024

New Zealand life and culture will be featured during International Education week

<p>The New Zealand flag. Photo courtesy of Kerin Gedge/Unsplash.</p>

The New Zealand flag. Photo courtesy of Kerin Gedge/Unsplash.

The University of Richmond’s International Education Week for New Zealand begins on Nov. 14 and will celebrate the food, environment, animals and culture of Aotearoa, the Māori-language name for New Zealand.

During the week, community members will be able to join: discussions of the natural world, female leadership, the Māori people and sports common in New Zealand. UR will welcome New Zealand ambassador Bede Corry, according to a media release.

“This year, scholars and visitors will travel to Richmond from New Zealand and Washington, D.C. to offer their expertise,” Brown wrote in an email to The Collegian.

Martha Merritt, dean of international education, said that international week gives UR a chance to embark on a journey to discover other cultures.

“As far as we know, we take it to a different degree than a lot of other universities,” Merritt said.

UR has a long-standing partnership with the University of Otago in New Zealand. Two professors from the University of Otago are coming to give talks on their respective subjects of biodiversity and cinema, Merritt said.

Philip Seddon, a wildlife and zoology professor at the University of Otago, will give a talk on how to engage communities in biodiversity restoration particularly in Aotearoa in the International Center Commons at 2 p.m. on Nov. 16. A panel on conservation will be held in Tyler Haynes Commons at 4:30 p.m. on Nov. 15. A presentation on the Māori people and their citizenship in New Zealand is being held at the UR law school room 114 at 4 p.m. on Nov. 17, according to the International Education Week website. 

Teri Higgins, a film professor at the University of Otago, will host a film night and discussion on Taika Waititi’s film “Hunt for the Wilderpeople.”

“I’m very excited to see the film [‘Hunt for the Wilderpeople’],” Merritt said, “I’ve seen Taika Waititi’s film ‘Jo Jo Rabbit’ but not this one, so don’t spoil anything for me.”

UR received the Association of International Education Administrators Innovation Award in Internationalization and recognized UR’s restyled International Week programming through the pandemic, according to the news release about the award.

Senior exchange student from the University of Otago, Ella McKee, said it will be nice to have people from home on campus.

“I feel like people think we just run around in bush-bash [the wilderness] and ride sheep,” McKee said. “I think it needs to be discovered, it’s not like we’re extinct and need to come back to life but maybe because people think it isn’t worth the trip.” 

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After past International Education weeks, study abroad enrollment for the country featured during the week has increased, Merritt said. 

Another group on campus that is a part of International Education Week is the Office of Sustainability, which has organized an annual eco-challenge competition for the UR community. 

“The Information Services team almost always wins, they’re maniacs about the challenge,” Merritt said.

Registration for the eco-challenge is required. Campus community members can register through this link.

“When I came here and saw the amount of plastic used, I realized that [New Zealanders] are sustainable,” McKee said. “Keeping our ocean clean is really important for us.”

Tyler Betzhold, the executive chef at the Heilman Dining Center, said prep work for International Week happens over the summer as the dining hall team has more time to experiment with recipes. 

“I’ll typically get some sort of idea about what the country will be in the spring,” Betzhold said. “When I get that, I start to work on the week.” 

Terry Baker, executive director of Dining Services at UR, said it’s like a stage production.

“The [HDC team] will practice with the desserts and their main dishes in time for the curtain to drop,” Baker said. “Because when you cook for two to three thousand people, you better have the recipe down to a science.”

McKee said the dining hall team consulted her on what they should include for the dinner. 

“We make a lot of meat pies and pavlova,” McKee said. 

Passport Café will have minced beef pot pie and mushroom pot pies as its specials during the week, according to the events page. 

The community helps the dinner come to life by emailing recipes and giving feedback. Dining Services tries to dig a little deeper and represent New Zealand well. Along with the dinner Wednesday night, they will hold themed meals on Monday and Tuesday, Betzhold said. 

“Monday night is the boil up [traditional Māori soup] dinner, we will also have Māori fry-bread,” Betzhold said. “While we can’t cook in the ground like the Māori, we are trying to keep it as authentic as possible.” 

The Māori population is dwindling, but their culture is still relevant to New Zealand culture, McKee said. 

“It’s incorporated in our learning,” McKee said. “They’re still there.”

Contact news writer Amy Jablonski

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