The Te Ara Pages

A COMPREHENSIVE GUIDE

 

It would be interesting for the growing Filipino-Kiwi communities across New Zealand today to note that the Te Ara Encyclopedia website has several pages devoted to the Filipino ethnic component of Aotearoa. Although it has yet to be established who was the first Filipino to land and settle in the country, interest ingly enough the encyclopedia does mention that “… the 1936 census records six people born in the ‘Philippine Islands’.”

 

Te Ara is building a comprehensive guide to New Zealand’s peoples, natural environment, history, culture, economy and society. It is an excellent effort on their part. For example, as regard to its peoples’ section, a webpage titled ‘Later Migrant Organisations’ makes particular reference to some Asian groups who began migrating to New Zealand in the 20th century. There is mention that “… their numbers greatly increased from the 1980s because of changes to immi gration policy, which now assessed migrants on criteria of age, skills, education and capital rather than ethnicity.”

 

THE FILIPINO PAGES

 

With due regard to Te Ara’s website Copyright Notice and Disclaimer Statement pages, snapshots of web pages that refer to Filipinos in New Zealand are repro duced hereunder for the benefit of the Filipino-Kiwis in Wellington as well as for other related communities residing in other parts of the country:

 

Snapshot: The Short Story Page of Te Ara’s Website on Richard Ella
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© Crown Copyright 2005 – 2011 | Disclaimer | ISBN 978-0-478-18451-8 Ministry for Culture and Her itage / Te Manatū Taonga. The Crown, through the Ministry for Culture and Heritage, holds the copy right on all information on this website. Crown copyright information on this website may be used for personal and non-commercial purposes without further permission, subject to the information being reproduced accurately and not being used in a misleading context. The photo of Ricardo Ella is © Alexander Turnbull Library, Evening Post Collection, National Library of New Zealand. All Rights Reserved.

 

FOR THE LOVE OF DANCE

 

The single image displayed above is of Ricardo Ella, a Filipino born in Sipocot, Camarines Sur Philippines. He studied dance with Eva Estrella Damian (also known as Vella Damian) in 1977. In her early years, Damian was a student of Remedios “Totoy” de Oteyza who, in her own time, was a pupil of Preobrajenksa Egorova and other noted dance teachers in Paris and Madrid, and of the Hungarian expatriate in Manila, Paul Szilard, who became a noted New York impresario. Later, she studied at Robert Joffrey’s American Ballet Center and the School of American Ballet in New York City, USA (1966-1968) and upon returning to Manila in 1968, she became a teacher at the school of the Hariraya Ballet Company.

 

In 1978, Ella joined the Australian ballet. He also trained with William Morgan and then joined the Dance Concert Company of Ballet Philippines taking soloist parts. He occasionally guested with Dance Theater Philippines. After training with Morgan, Ella earned a scholarship to the Australian Ballet School of Mel bourne in 1981. After graduating, he danced with the Royal New Zealand Ballet from 1985 to 1987 and in 1989 guested for the Philippines’ premier professional dance company – Ballet Philippines. In 1990, he danced both with the Philippine Ballet Theater and the Australian Stars of Ballet.

 

Some of Ella’s performances have included Giselle, Swan Lake, Orpheus, The Three Musketeers, La Sylphide, and the The Phantom of the Opera.

 

Snapshot: The Filipinos Culture Page on Te Ara’s Website
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© Crown Copyright 2005 – 2011 | Disclaimer | ISBN 978-0-478-18451-8 Ministry for Culture and Her itage / Te Manatū Taonga. The Crown, through the Ministry for Culture and Heritage, holds the copy right on all information on this website. Crown copyright information on this website may be used for personal and non-commercial purposes without further permission, subject to the information being reproduced accurately and not being used in a misleading context. The first photo of Filipino Girls in Auckland is © Bill McNicoll. The second photo of Ricardo Ella is © Alexander Turnbull Library, Evening Post Collection, National Library of New Zealand. The third photo of Impulse Dancers is © Colin Prince. All Rights Reserved.

 

The two other images displayed above along with Ricardo Ella are of young Filipina girls performing at a church event in Auckland in the late 1980s and of the Auckland-based Impulse Dancers performing one of the Philippines’ tradi tional Tagalog dance called Pandanggo Sa Ilaw.

 

Watch The Video

This video clip is the property of the Likha Pilipino Folk Ensemble or Likha.org, a Filipino-American dance organisation based in the city of San Francisco, California USA since 1992 which actively works to showcase the richness and diversity of Philippine culture on the stage as a way to bridge differences between cultures, and to educate young overseas Filipinos born in other countries (particularly in America) who do not have the opportunities to learn about their own vibrant culture. Likha.org, like its counterparts in New Zealand such as Filipino Artists in New Zealand (Welling ton), the FILIFEST Dance Group (Lower Hutt) and others around the country, seeks to educate other cultures who have never seen or heard about the Philippines. All Rights Reserved.

 

The word ‘pandanggo’ is from the Spanish fandango, a dance set in 3/4 time. The phrase ‘sa ilaw’ is Pilipino for “in light” and it refers to the three oil lamps that a dancer has to balance – one on the head and one on the back each hand. The oil lamp is called ‘tinghoy’. Sometimes, candles in glasses are used instead of an oil lamp.

 

TELLING OUR STORIES

 

Filipinos in Wellington, along with its sister sites each that are for Filipino-Kiwis residing in Auckland, Hamilton and Christchurch respectively, are grateful that Te Ara provides some exposure on its website about Filipinos in New Zealand.

 

But, as we have stressed in our Welcome page, each one of us is a walking his torian. So we urge each one of you in the region of Wellington to record, write and submit your stories and views, That’s what this website is for. For sure, there are records to be searched, oral histories to be recorded, stories to be written shared, photograph collect ions to be collated, expanded and shared.

 

We need to tell our stories and relate our experiences as Filipino-Kiwis living in New Zealand. This may be our task and our responsibility today – but it is also yours. Only then, by telling our stories, will we be able to connect with all the social, economic and political machineries of New Zealand, and walk with heads held high representing ourselves as New Zealanders regardless of our ethnicity.

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1 Comment

Filed under Arts and Culture, Community News, Featured Profiles, Special Feature

One response to “The Te Ara Pages

  1. Unbelievable! The research and thoughtfulness that went into this article! This is a labor of love. Please pat yourself/selves on the back, Filipinos in Wellington staff, kudos and mabuhay!

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