A First Step - The Mapuche of Chile and the Maori of New Zealand

By MAPLE Microdevelopment - Chile

The Llaguepulli Community and its allies, including the MAPLE Chile team, wrote to invite the New Zealand Ambassador to Llaguepulli. On January 28 and 29, 2016, representatives of the New Zealand Embassy in Chile, including Ambassador Jacqui Caine, and Policy Advisor Maria Jesus Prieto, visited The Llaguepulli Community, for activities associated with The Community’s Kompu Lof School and The Lago Budi Tourism Committee.

The New Zealand delegation started their visit with a lunch at the Lago Budi Mapuche Gastronomy Center, with the hospitality of local entrepreneur, Don Mauricio Painefil, and his family. There, the Ambassador received a warm welcome from the Longko of Llaguepulli, don Jorge Calfuqueo. She also visited the School where she learned more of MAPLE’s contribution towards the tree nursery and new organic gardens.

Ambassador Caine learned through two days of community dialogue and activities, at both the Longko’s ruka and the MapuLawen Medicinal Garden, about the School’s projection, as well as of best practices and challenges in tourism. Community members heard from Ambassador Caine of her Maori tribal community, and New Zealand experiences in Maori-Government relations and Maori development. Topics included developing Maori-Mapuche relations for promoting community-managed education for language revitalization initiatives and sustainable development. Cultural insights in traditional medicine, education and history were shared.

To make things more exciting, the New Zealand Ambassador personally delivered a letter confirming a grant under the Fondo Embajada de Nueva Zelandia, to a project, supported by MAPLE’s team, to refurbish the Schools’s furniture and gym supplies.    This will be a key contribution to the School and its students and teachers –providing a boost for the new school year which will begin in March 2016.

During the Embassy’s visit, facilitated by MAPLE Microdevelopment practitioners Ignacio Krell and Alison Guzman, and hosted by Fresia Painefil and Nadia Painefil, two of the Grupo de Apoyo Mutuo community managers, Ambassador Caine and Ms. Prieto learned more of MAPLE’s work in the region and its role in helping the Community attain self-sustainable asset management strategies.

The Llaguepulli Community considered the New Zealand Embassy’s visit to be a symbolic representation of a continuing dialogue between Mapuche and Maori First Nations, strengthening each other’s’ efforts and supporting these long-lasting relations.