Kapa haka group off to nationals

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A GROUP of Southland secondary school pupils will perform in front of thousands in Napier this month at Te Haaro o Te Kaahu — the National Secondary Schools Kapa Haka Competition.
‘‘For secondary schools there is no other bigger event,’’ Te Wharekura o Arowhenua teacher Gary Davis said.
‘‘It is great to see a real positive event for our Maori kids.’’
Hosted by Ngati Kahungunu, the competition will see 39 kapa haka groups from throughout New Zealand perform.
The Southland group is made up of 38 Years 9-13 pupils from Te Wharekura, Verdon College and Southland boys’ and girls’ high schools.
Te Wharekura won the right to attend the competition after winning the regional competition last year but, as it had insufficient numbers to make up the group needed for the nationals, it was decided to open the opportunity upto other schools, he said.
‘‘It was hoped there would be a flow-on effect — the skills the pupils from the other schools had learnt being part of the group would flow back to their own schools and lift their performances at future events.’’
The group has been practising for three hours twice a week for most of the year and had attended several live-in practices to perfect their performance.
‘‘We are really looking forward to it. We have put many hours of work into this… It is a huge process.’’
The performance was 30 minutes long and incorporated six different forms of kapa haka including poi and haka performed to songs written by members of the group about their experiences living in Southland, Mr Davis said.
‘‘It gives us the opportunity to tell our stories. It is great we can come from this end of the world and let everyone know what we are about.’’
It was costing about $60,000 for the group to attend the competition.
Mr Davis thanked Ngai Tahu and community funders the Community Trust of Southland and the ILT Foundation for their support in helping the team raise the necessary funds.

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