I have a friend who jokes about being a miscegenation. He contains multitudes and adamantly refuses to be put into a little American box meant to define him

The zed, at least Auckland, is a lesson in that same kind of hybrid. On campus, very few people check a single box. This afternoon while lolling time away on the quad I met a tongan kiwi, a samoan kiwi, a Cambodia/Chinese kiwi, an cooke island/irish kiwi…the list goes on. That doesn’t even begin to account for the international folk who have come to study or stay depending on their mood.

It is this amazing burst of multiculturalism that confuses the senses for a second until I realize that the boxes I came equipped with just aren’t big enough.

Add to this the mixing of the times and I am thoroughly intrigued. Performers entertained throughout the day. There was a hip-hop dance troupe…mostly asian and pacific islanders… working it out to a mix of blaring beats. And later, there was a group of sikh men doing a traditional dance accompanied by what looked like a traditional drum. After a few moments of that the cd player came on and all of a sudden the sounds of contemporary India poured out…a little bit mumbai a little bit hip-hop a little bit pop…mostly a sound all its own. And just like that they were dancing traditional dances to this less than traditional music.

I had to laugh out loud because I’ve been limited in my thinking in the past. A friend of mine told me about someone’s dissertation on the hula and how it is has been “bastardized” of sorts. Only…it hasn’t…or not completely. The notion that traditions are static is ridiculous…life is kinetic.

traditions morph and evolve with the people who keep them. Like the guitar that is readily present in maori tradition now…an import from the Europeans. But the music is all the richer for the addition.

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