Cultural and indigenous tree species, Talanoa sessions of traditional stories and more connections with nature form some of the key things the Pacific Theological College youth team’s focus for the year.
A movie night in April kicked off fundraising drives to raise enough money to finance activities focused on the theme ‘Reweaving the Ecological Mat.’
Youth Coordinator Pastor Billy Wetewea said the theme will encourage young people to reconnect with their ecology, traditions, cultures and unique identities.
The group membership is diverse, hailing from different parts of the Pacific Islands group.
Diverse as they are ethnically, so they are culturally, traditionally and Talanoa sessions are always an exciting time or sharing.
‘One of the ways we are reconnecting with ecology is to simply share cultural stories or legends. It’s interesting to hear the different traditional stories,’ said Pastor Wetewea.
‘In this way we promote our own different cultures with each other, and keep it alive through oral traditions like our ancestors did around fireplaces.’
‘In 2017, we had something similar with cultural dances.’
Pastor Wetewea said that most of the PTC youth members grew up in urban areas with little contact or exposure to their cultural practices, languages, songs, and even food,
‘Some of us cannot speak our indigenous dialects and promoting our connections with ecology is also about finding our identities through our language and traditional practices.’
‘Sometimes we feel lost in our homelands because we cannot speak or understand the local dialect.’
The youths are planning a tree planting exercise. They plan to grow trees that have cultural value.
‘When we plant the tree we will know their cultural value, observe the rituals involved in planting it and even when to plant it,’ Pastor Wetewea said.
‘This is part of the spiritual knowledge that defined our connectedness with nature.”