To Katie Paul
Te Takinga Marae

Dear Katie,

Thank you on behalf of Spaceward Bound New Zealand 2015 for your warm welcome and care! For your belief that we can make SBNZ possible here at the heart of Aotearoa, thank you! For opening the house of your ancestors to us, and for the excellent environment that you have provided for us.

For many of us, staying at a Marae was a new and perhaps strange experience. I am taking with me the feeling of belonging to a great Spaceward Bound family, who gathered literally from around the world on board this great waka called astrobiology. Because we had the chance to share our space at the Marae, I believe that this feeling of belonging is even stronger.

Being there made me ponder how lucky I was to have the chance to experience a glimpse of how it might have felt to the ancient travellers who journeyed together, existed together in the same space, and took care of one and other in times of hardship. I am grateful for the sense of communion that came with that.

This feeling is something that no manual can teach and no story book can depict accurately. Yet, it’s something that space travellers, in their spaceships, will experience, too. And there we were, caught in between two worlds, looking back to learn from the ancestors and hoping to create a future for our hopes, bridging the past and the future in one beautiful perfect moment in time that was Spaceward Bound New Zealand 2015.

So thank you Katie for making all these possible for us! Your enthusiasm and inclusiveness enriched our stay in a very special way!

On a spaceship or special expedition like this, where everyone knows his or her mission, the team moves as one. Thank you for your team! We would like to acknowledge them as well. And special thanks to Shanan Tana who, though he tried to stay in stealth mode, always went the extra mile to make sure that everything ran smoothly and our needs were attended to. Thank you Shanan!

Katie, we hope that we will keep in touch with you and that this is only the beginning of a wonderful friendship!

All of these magic moments will stay in our hearts. A few of them are captured in images. Here is a gift from us, the Marae and the Stars above.

Thank you for the memories,

Spaceward Bound New Zealand Whanau

IMG_8164 - 2015-01-18 at 23-47-19 11.02.10 pm

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