Kapa haka kids impress at regionals
The Richmond Road School kapa haka group performed with gusto to shake off their underdog status at the Auckland regional kapa haka competition.
Youngsters from the school’s bilingual unit, Te Whanau Whariki, were strong competitors at the event, held on November 14 and 15. They were the only primary school to qualify for the national competition in Palmerston North next year.
Ropu (team) leader Cindy Pile-Wetere says the competition is typically dominated by kura kaupapa Maori (Maori-language immersion schools).
‘‘They have intermediate age students where as we are dealing with kids ranging from 6 to 11 years old,’’ she says.
‘‘There is a big difference between teaching a 6-year-old and a 13-year-old. First we had to teach them just to be able to stand still for 20 minutes.’’
Pile-Wetere says because kura kaupapa are full immersion, the students are used to kapa haka as part of their everyday lives.
Te Whanau Whariki students are new to the competition and it is only the second time they have competed at the regional level.
But she says ‘‘big hearts’’ – and an impressive support network behind them – made the children unstoppable.
‘‘The teachers played a huge role,’’ Pile-Wetere says.
‘‘Most of the waiata were written by the teachers, then put to music and actions, then taught to the students.’’
‘‘The costumes, kakahu, they were all handmade by the parents – it has been a joint venture and a real community win.’’
Peachez Vetenebua, 10, was first equal in the manukura kotiro section which is for the top female leader in the entire competition.
At least 10 students will be leaving for intermediate school next year.
‘‘We will have to bring some of younger ones up,’’ Pile-Wetere says.
Not only that but an entire new bracket has to be created and perfected.
‘‘Our teachers will have to research the area around Palmerston North and compose waiata to fit.’’
Go to aucklandcityharbour news.co.nz and click on Latest Edition to see the kapa haka group perform.