Filipino-Maori Peoples Dinner at Ang Bahay
As the Philippine Embassy continues to fortify the bridges of friendship and partnership and enhance closer collaboration between the Filipino and Maori communities in the multi culturally enriched and ethnically diverse nation of New Zealand, Ambassador Virginia H. Benavidez hosted a fellowship dinner in honour of Mr. Tamati Cairns, Chairman, Tuhoe Ki Poneke and Director, Te Atahou Trust, Ms. Pauline Oleary, Te Atahou Trust, Ms. Sharmane Thompson, Director, Exceptional Communications and Mr. Brenden Samuel, Exceptional Communications together with Ms. Flora Muriel-Nogoy, Chairperson, Bulwagan Foundation Trust, Ms. Dinna O’Meara, Ms. Odette Dulce-Madrisa and Ms. Judith Mendoza, Members of the Board of Trustees of the Bulwagan Foundation Trust at “Ang Bahay” (Philippine Ambassador’s residence) on 9 February 2015. Consul General Arlene Gonzales-Macaisa, Vice Consul Glenn Joseph Obach and Ms. Rubianca Angelica Benavidez, the Ambassador’s daughter were also present.
Ambassador Benavidez welcomed all the guests amidst the Filipino ambience of “Ang Bahay” and thanked Chairman Cairns and the Maori friends for the close ties, goodwill and solidarity with Ms. Nogoy and the Bulwagan Foundation Trustees and with the wider Filipino community. Their presence, support and collaboration in fulfilling a shared dream for a Filipino Community Center that would serve as a home, haven and headquarters for the benefit of both Filipinos and friends from the multi-cultural community of New Zealand illustrate the caring and sharing spirit that binds Filipinos and Maoris together. In behalf of the Maori guests, Chairman Cairns conveyed deep appreciation for the warm reception and gracious hospitality - Filipino style- extended to him and his friends. He highlighted the close connections between Maoris and Filipinos and the readiness to contribute to setting up and sustaining the Filipino Community Centre that would be a landmark in celebrating common ground and cultures.
It was an evening of heart-warming fellowship with a strong sense of community among the guests as they talked about the many creative and concrete ways towards having a Filipino Community Centre that would reflect the vibrancy and heartbeat of togetherness and mutual benefit among Filipinos, Maoris and peoples from other countries. Seating around the dinner table makes a great setting for meaningful conversations such as these and exemplify a favourite enduring Maori proverb, “He aha te mea nui te ao? He tangata! He tangata! He tangata!” (What is the most important thing in the world? It is people! It is people! It is people!).
An article, "FILIPINO-MAORI PEOPLES STRENGHTEN COMMUNITY BUILDING TIES IN GREATER WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND", published by the Philippine Embassy in Wellington, New Zealand, on 08 March 2015 with permission.
* Photos courtesy of Rowel Madrisa
More photos available on the Bulwagan Foundation Trust facebook page.