SYDNEY, Oct 11- About 40 students aged 13 to 18 from the bilingual unit of Bay of Islands College began the tour in Vancouver Island in the school holidays, meeting and performing with indigenous First Nations school students.

Bay of Islands College Maori language teacher Edith Painting-Davis said she wanted the trip to inspire her students to broaden their horizons and share their heritage with the world.

"It may give them the travel bug or an appreciation of other cultures - a lot of our students probably otherwise wouldn't go further than Australia," she said.

As a bonus the students enjoyed a five night cruise, travelling down the west coast of Canada and the US en route to Los Angeles and were asked to perform on board in the ship's 1000-seat theatre.

The performance included enthusiastic audience participation with girls taught how to use a poi and boys showed how to perform the haka.

The standing ovation they received after their first show on board led to them returning for an encore performance the following day.

Painting-Davis said the trip was a great way to show people from all over the world "a little bit about NZ and the Maori culture".

"We're trying very hard to revitalise our language and our culture and keep it a living, breathing thing in our own country as well as get it out there.

"Often people don't realise that NZ has its own indigenous people," she said during the cruise.

"So that's what we want to do. If by performing or just spending time with people talking we can let them know about NZ," she said.

The trip ended with a performance at Disneyland in Los Angeles.