Our family met on Friday evening to discuss our various return options, and we decided to catch a flight out of Dunedin on Saturday, June 28. We’ll spend two days in Sydney, Australia, then head back home to Hawai‘i on June 30. June 29 is my birthday and June 30 is Marie’s, so it will be a nice last present for us before we return home and deal with all of the things that we were able to put off until our return. M?lia wanted us to leave on the 27th so that she didn’t have to perform a hula for her schoolmates on International day, but I reminded her that it was not an option – it was her responsibility as a representative for her school back home and for Hawai‘i to share what she has learned.
My supervisors in the music department had been trying to organize an outing for us on Otago Peninsula since we arrived, and it finally materialized yesterday. I’ll be eternally grateful to Dan Bendrups (far left) and Henry Johnson (second from left) for taking me under their wings this semester, and also to Shelley Brunt (far right), who I assisted in her Ethnomusicology class. The ethnomusicology program here is excellent, growing, and reflecting a wide variety of research interests throughout the Pacific. Dan and one MA student focus on Rapanui (Easter Island), Shelley with Japanese popular forms, one Ph.D. student in Papua New Guinea, an M.A. student studying Sāmoan music festivals, another the bag-piping tradition here in New Zealand, and myself doing Ph.d. research in Hawaiian music. I’m very happy to be a part of such a diverse and dynamic group, and apparently they are very happy with my progress in our short time here. We’re all confident that I will be able to hit the ground running upon our return to Hawai‘i and begin research.
While we have no travels or adventures planned before leaving Dunedin, Mālia has one last trip with her Māori language class to Ngaa Manu Koorero, a Māori speech competition in Invercargill at the southern-most tip of Aotearoa this week.
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