A celebration of te reo Maori

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Ocean Ngeru Frew, Rahiri Cooper and Tane Furlonge (all 10) during Waverley Park School's kapa haka presentation.
Raiha Blair (10, middle) sings during Waverley Park School’s kapa haka presentation at the Invercargill Public Library.

THE Invercargill Public Library was filled with the mana (presence/prestige) of Waverley Park School’s kapa haka last week.

About 50 pupils from the group Tuinga Tahi joined the celebrations of Te Wiki o te Reo Maori (Maori Language Week) celebrations at the library.

Among them were Rahiri Cooper, Raiha Blair and Tane Furlonge, who showed their pukana during the presentation of Maori performing arts.

Waverley Park School principal Kerry Hawkins said the week was important to keep Maori culture alive.

“You use it or you lose it. Previous generations their generation weren’t really exposed to it [te reo Maori] in the schooling system.

“It just wasn’t there because English was promoted as the way to go forward but there has been a Maori renaissance in recent years.”

Event organiser Mandy Stenton created a week of activities to celebrate a range of Maori arts, including kapa haka and wood carving. “This is considered [for many] a second home, so it is our culture.

“We need to step up,” Ms Stenton said.

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