School pride on show
More than 1000 performers and supporters from Waikato schools converged on Hillcrest High School last week to celebrate kapa haka.
He Tai Ohinga Maro is a kapa haka festival with Hillcrest hosting 10 other secondary schools.
“It’s not really a competition as such, it’s really just an opportunity for schools in our area to get together and to perform as kapa haka groups,” said Hillcrest High School principal Kelvin Whiting.
Participating roopu (groups) came from Waikato Diocesan School for Girls, Cambridge High School, Morrinsville College, Melville High School, Fairfield College, St John’s College, Sacred Heart Girls’ College, Forest View High School (Tokoroa), Nga¯ ruawa¯ hia High School and St Peters School, Cambridge.
Hillcrest accepted the mauri (trophy) of He Tai Ohinga Maro from Nga¯ ruawa¯ hia High School last year and primary and middle school children from the school’s Ka¯ hui Ako (Community of Learning) opened proceedings.
“What we’ve done this year that’s been different from previous years is that we’ve got our Ka¯ hui Ako schools involved around this area, Tamahere, Tauwhare, Berkley, so that they were able to support Hillcrest High School in the po¯ whiri,” Mr Whiting said.
Students and the school’s Whakaruru Hau committee have worked since term two to prepare for the occasion. Guests included Waikato-tainui and Nga¯ti Haua¯ dignitaries.
“We’ve got a really dedicated group of staff around Ma¯ ori achievement and tikanga within the school and relationships with Tainui and Nga¯ ti Haua¯ have been at the forefront of organising this. A huge amount of work and effort has gone into this,” Mr Whiting said.
The large crowd was lively and vocal in their support of those on the stage. Even though He Tai Ohinga Maro was not competitive the students performed with pride and exuberance.
“They want to do well, our students, like all schools do because they’re showcasing their talents and capabilities… but also there’s a little bit of competitiveness with other schools.
“Even though it’s not a competition as such we all like to do the very best that we possibly can.”
Kukutaaruhe from Fairfield College at He Tai Ohinga Maro.
Hillcrest High School kaita¯ taki ta¯ ne (male lead) Te Rangi Pritchard-blunt, year 11 and kaita¯ taki wa¯ hine (female lead) Raumati Beazley, year 11.
He Tai Ohinga Maro mauri (trophy).
Hillcrest High School principal Kelvin Whiting.