Thirteen NMU students spent part of winter break in New Zealand on a Superior Edge International Service trip. They completed a variety of community service projects in different locations, logging hours toward the citizenship edge. They also explored the Maori culture, earning additional hours toward the diversity edge.
The group spent time in Auckland, Whitianga and Mount Maunganui. They also visited Rotorua, a city in a volcano where most of the Maori—the indigenous Polynesian people—are located. Students enjoyed a traditional feast and learned the traditional haka war dance.
“It was absolutely spectacular,” said Rachel Harris of the Center for Student Enrichment, who led the trip with colleague Hannah Lewis. “We had a wonderful group of students and everyone got along so well. New Zealand is so peaceful, clean and orderly. Our local guide was dynamic and full of information. He grew up with the Maori people and knew a lot about the culture, even though he wasn’t part of it himself.”
Harris said the guide shared the country’s philosophies and values, particularly related to environmental protection and food safety. For example, no fresh vegetables, fruit or meat sold in New Zealand are genetically modified.
NMU students assisted with the following service projects: leading children’s activities at the TMCA; building and improving trails; upgrading a community garden; and completing a survey for a city to enhance tourism.
“It felt good to represent my university and country in a positive way that would have a lasting impact on the people and communities we helped,” said NMU student Jared Evans of Marquette. “The trip gave me a broad perspective on a different culture and ideology. And as a freshman, it allowed me to start off college with an expanded view of the world outside of my own. New Zealand and its people are great. I definitely plan to get back there someday.”
The trip was Dec. 29-Jan 13.