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Tea Leaves

Maori Australian revives in-your-face cultural identity

Traditional body art is making a comeback among Polynesian immigrants

Brent Kerehona receiving new moko during the live demonstrations for the Maori Markings: Ta Moko exhibition opening day 2019   © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra

The sprawling suburbs of Sydney, Australia's biggest city, are home to successive waves of immigrants. In the city's south-west, Cabramatta High School, next to an area known as Little Saigon, has turned generations of their children into Aussies.

It takes a flexible breed of teacher to fit into this diverse student community, but Brent Kerehona stands out as an example of why ethnic heritage does not have to be abandoned for these children to thrive in the Australian mainstream.

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