Kapa haka group takes on na­tional chal­lenge

Auckland City Harbour News - - News - By Jo­ce­lyn Rein

The group of teenagers is rowdy, but when Pa Chris Selwyn speaks, they lis­ten.

Whether it’s cool to ad­mit it or not, they all wanted to be in West­ern Springs Col­lege’s marae dur­ing their hol­i­days.

The group were re­hears­ing for their per­for­mance at Kapa Haka Kura Tuaru­aathe Na­tional Sec­ondary Schools Maori Per­form­ing Arts Com­pe­ti­tion in Welling­ton.

It is the first time since the Maori Im­mer­sion Unit Nga Puna O Waiorea Ru­maki be­gan 18 years ago at the col­lege that the group has made the cut.

Pa Selwyn says the stan­dard at the com­pe­ti­tion will be very high.

“They know they’ve got to do a damned good job.”

They will com­pete in June against more than 40 other schools from around the coun­try.

They will be joined by five other Auck­land schools, Nga Ta­puwae, Piripono, Auck­land Girls Gram­mar, James Cook High School and Hoani Waititi.

The group of 40 will per­form a choral item, a chant, an ac­tion song, a poi, a haka and a chore­ographed en­trance and exit.

They have been cho­sen out of the 75-strong ru­maki to rep­re­sent the school.

One of the group’s lead­ers, stu­dent Sa­man­tha Lam­sam, says they were se­lected on what they each brought to the stage in­di­vid­u­ally.

Those 40 camped out on the marae for in­ten­sive train­ing.

Pa Selwyn says it is a huge achieve­ment for them to get to na­tion­als.

But he says it has been a long-term goal of the school ever since the ru­maki unit was es­tab­lished.

“All of the whanau are on board.

“They all made the com­mit­ment, whether their kid was in the per­for­mance or not.”

It is the com­mit­ment from whanau that has made the ru­maki unit at West­ern Springs so suc­cess­ful.

Last year 85 per­cent of stu­dents achieved their level 1 NCEA, 87 per­cent achieved level 2 and 90 per­cent achieved level 3.

Board of Trustees ru­maki rep­re­sen­ta­tive Tracey Watkin­son says they are quiet achiev­ers but the re­sults speak for them­selves.

“And for us to get to this com­pe­ti­tion is huge, for the school and the com­mu­nity.

“We’re quite proud of that.”

They are first up on the stage when they get to Welling­ton in six weeks time, which makes them “a bit ner­vous” but it will also be a bless­ing, says Sa­man­tha.

“At least we’ll get it out of the way early.”

Right now, their main prob­lem is not tal­ent, but funds – $38,000 to be pre­cise.

Ms Watkin­son says al­most all of the fund­ing has to come from fam­i­lies and the com­mu­nity.

She says even though West­ern Springs Col­lege is a decile eight school, “this unit is not decile eight at all”.

“We’re hop­ing that the school com­mu­nity will sup­port what this is about,” Ms Watkin­son says.

She hopes an art auc­tion this week­end will raise the bulk of the funds.

The school has re­ceived do­na­tions of art­works from sev­eral lo­cal artists.

The art auc­tion will preview to­mor­row at the school and the auc­tion will be held on Sun­day.


Bring it on: West­ern Springs Col­lege stu­dents re­hearse for the na­tional kapa haka cham­pi­onships, from back left: Mar­garet Clarke, 17, Nor­bryn Varula, 15, Sa­man­tha Lam­sam, 17. Front: Danny Watkin­son, 15, Wei­hana Henry, 13, and Tan­iora Mo­tutere, 13.

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