Saturday, April 10, 2010

Following a Food Trail

I took a walk in Christchurch Botanic Gardens yesterday. I had heard that there was 'an exhibition' of Maori trapping and snaring techniques, organised by the gardes and staged in conjunction with the current (very beautiful) Ngai Tahu exhibition Te Hokinga Mai, which is showing at Canterbury Museum.
I was given the small booklet, Te Wao Nui a Tane - The Great Forest of Tane and sent on my way to explore the gardens.

It took me all of three seconds to realise that the trail had been designed for primary school children and that the activities outlined in the booklet, were all about 'conjuring up' an imagined search for traditional foods. Nonetheless, I wandered about, followed the signs, watched groups of kids looking for eels in the water and generally had a lazy time soaking up the sun. I of course, had been hoping to photograph traps and snares. There were none; but the booklet is a nice little exercise in traditions for children, who may not have learned to identify certain native trees, plants, birds and wildlife. And with it's maps marked with an X, its traditional tracking signs, quizzes and learning tasks, the whole exercise seemed worthwhile to me.

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