Thu, Nov 01, 2018 - Page 4 News List

Maori dance troupe arrives for World Flora Exposition

By Huang Chung-shan and Jonathan Chin  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

A person dressed as Taichung World Flora Exposition leopard cat mascot Love watches as Taichung Mayor Lin Chia-lung, center, and Whangara Mai Tawhiti dance troupe leader Derek Lardelli, left, exchange a Maori hongi greeting at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport on Tuesday.

Photo courtesy of the Taichung City Government

Taichung Mayor Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) on Tuesday welcomed Maori traditional dance group Whangara Mai Tawhiti at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport ahead of their performance at the opening ceremony of the Taichung World Flora Exposition.

The world-renowned group last year won gold at New Zealand’s Te Matatini music festival, the Taichung Information Bureau said.

Lin and troupe leader Derek Lardelli pressed their foreheads together in the traditional Maori greeting before the mayor presented gifts of orchids, sun cakes and expo memorabilia to Lardelli.

The group performed the traditional Maori warrior dance for the media and travelers at the airport, brandishing ceremonial weapons.

The group hopes to reinforce the bonds of common ancestry shared by Taiwan’s Aborigines and the Maori people, Lardelli said, adding that the troupe was created to preserve 3,000 years of Maori cultural heritage.

The 173-day event is to begin on Saturday at Shuinan Gateway Park (水湳經貿園區), Lin said.

Thirty-seven folk dance troupes from around the world, including flamenco and samba groups, are to perform at the expo from Saturday to Monday next week, he said.

Whangara Mai Tawhiti would perform on Saturday evening, Lin said.

Running through April 24 next year in the city’s Waipu District (外埔), the expo is to feature more than 1,000 rare plants including giant orchids (Grammatophyllum speciosum) and spleenworts (Asplenium), organizers said.

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