Indigenous Canadian schoolchildren studying the Treaty of Waitangi as part of their curriculum will learn about it first-hand when they take part in Waitangi Day celebrations in Northland.
The group of 19 children and seven adults from Chief Little Pine School, on a Cree reservation in central Canada's Saskatchewan province, will spend a week in New Zealand with the highlight a visit to Waitangi on February 6.
As well as experiencing as much as they can of Maori culture the group will perform their own songs and dances on the Treaty Grounds main stage.
The students, who are the equivalent of Year 7-8, will be hosted by Kawakawa Primary School while in Northland.
Kawakawa Primary teacher Verbina Kopa said the connection between the schools came about during the First World Indigenous Games in Brazil in 2015 when she met Lamarr Oksasikewiyin, a teacher at Chief Little Pine School and a member of the Cree cultural group.
Mr Oksasikewiyin was intrigued by the Maori delegation, Ms Kopa said.
"He wanted to learn more. He has a real fascination with New Zealand and the Treaty. Their school curriculum includes the treaties of the world, the Treaty of Waitangi among them. They decided to come here and see what it's really about," she said.
The pair met again during the preparatory meetings for the Second World Indigenous Games and started making plans for an exchange.
While in Brazil the Cree also befriended members of the central North Island tribe Tuwharetoa, so the Canadians' visit will start on February 2 in Turangi, where they will be shown the iwi's sacred mountains.
On February 4 the Cree group will head to Kawakawa; the following day youth worker and Maori games expert Wiremu Sarich, from Taipa, will take them to Hokianga with stops including Whiria Pa, near Whirinaki, and the great kauri Tane Mahuta. He also hoped to fit in a visit to Rewa's Village, a replica fishing pa in Kerikeri.
However, Ms Kopa expected Waitangi Day would be their highlight.
''They'll go as early as possible and spend the whole day among the people, just soaking it all up – the culture, the food, the protests. It'll be magnificent. They'll be able to see all the things they've been reading about.''
On February 7, once classes started again, the visitors would be welcomed at Kawakawa Primary School before flying home on February 8.
Mr Oksasikewiyin said he had taught about treaties in various schools and was on the speakers bureau for the Office of the Treaty Commissioner in Saskatchewan.
''Aside from international treaties being in the curriculum, I want to show the indigenous students here on the reserve that it is possible to see the world, no matter how far,'' he said.
''There are things out there that no lesson plan created that can match experience. I also want them to see the ties between the Maori and their own culture that they live. The Maori have similar stories.''
Mr Sarich said the visit was an opportunity to bring indigenous youth together and help them realise how much they had in common.
He also hoped it would plant a seed in the minds of his youth about organising a return visit to Canada.
The Cree group is scheduled to perform on the Treaty Grounds stage at 4.10pm. Ms Kopa said she was grateful to Kawakawa Primary's principal for supporting the visit.