Maori group Te Karangatahi will launch Cultural Diversity Week in the western suburbs with a program that aims to showcase its culture to the broader community.

President Wairangi Paki said the three-day program, starting March 17 at Altona’s Louis Joel centre, will aim to connect Maori elders and youth.

“A lot of them were born here in Australia – they’ve lost their identity, they don’t know who they are, where they’ve come from, and there’s always that need to learn a bit about the history, probably about the language,” he said.

Secretary Kahurangi Tumai said the aim is to strengthen children, or tamariki.

“Don’t be afraid that you’re different – you’re different in a unique way,” she said.

Cultural advisor Graham Anderson said the event was open to all who were interested in learning about the traditions such as carving, poi making, haka and the facial markings known as moko.

“The story goes that one of our Maori kings went to England and had an audience with the English monarchy, the king there,” he said.

“The king of England said look around the walls, look at my library, there’s my genealogy.

“The Maori said, look at my face.”

Cultural Diversity Week is from March 18-26. Details: hobsonsbay.vic.gov.au