Maori rep at US event

By Adriana Weber

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Rotorua's Katerina Pihera will perform at the Gathering of Nations conference in the United States this weekend.
Rotorua's Katerina Pihera will perform at the Gathering of Nations conference in the United States this weekend.

Rotorua's Katerina Pihera has been chosen to perform at a prestigious event in the United States that celebrates indigenous cultures.

Ms Pihera will take to the stage at the Gathering of Nations, the world's largest conference of Native American and indigenous peoples, held in Albuquerque, New Mexico, tomorrow.

The event will host tens of thousands of people and representatives of more than 500 tribes from the United States, Canada and around the world to celebrate culture through dance, music, food and indigenous dress.

Ms Pihera is of Te Arawa and Ngati Rangiwewehi whakapapa and will be the only performer of Maori descent to attend this year.

She performed at the Gathering of Nations in 2012 and said she was thrilled to return as it was a "huge privilege" to perform at the event.

Ms Pihera said it was important for people to celebrate their culture and there were many similarities between Maori and Native American culture.

"Native American and Maori have similar spiritual beliefs and connection to the environment, respect for ancestry and history and respect for each other's cultural perseverance," she said.

"To be able to perform at such an important event and to celebrate those cultures, well that feels amazing."

This time Ms Pihera will spend three months in the United States after the conference, taking time to marry her fiance Marcus Ridge, who she met during her last trip there.

Mr Ridge is of Native American descent and the couple will wed in a traditional Navajo wedding ceremony surrounded by their families.

"I am so incredibly happy to have found my true love through music and cultural connections," she said.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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