Kapa haka kids shine at fes­ti­val

Nelson Mail - - NEWS - HAN­NAH BARTLETT

A Nel­son kapa haka group has been ‘‘over­whelmed’’ to learn they were awarded sec­ond place for their per­for­mance in a na­tional com­pe­ti­tion.

Nel­son Cen­tral School’s Ta­mariki Toa group were one of 57 groups from pri­mary schools across New Zealand, com­pet­ing in the four day kapa haka fes­ti­val, Mana Kura Tahi, in Gis­borne.

They were awarded sec­ond place in the pri­mary school sec­tion, for year-groups one to six.

Teacher and kapa haka tu­tor Tom Ale­sana said the win came as a big sur­prise.

‘‘It’s an amaz­ing achieve­ment for a group of kids that are rel­a­tively new to the kapa haka scene.’’

They thought it would be an­other cou­ple of years be­fore they would get a plac­ing in the com­pe­ti­tion.

‘‘To have that hap­pen this year is a huge bonus for the ta­mariki,’’ he said.

The group of 33 had been pre­par­ing since they qual­i­fied for the com­pe­ti­tion a year ago, learn­ing seven per­for­mance items and fundrais­ing for the trip.

‘‘We started learn­ing our songs at the start of the year, in the first term,’’ Ale­sana said.

The songs the chil­dren per­formed were based on lo­cal sto­ries, pri­mar­ily about the Nga¯ti Kuia peo­ple.

‘‘They are the cus­to­di­ans of the land our school sits on.‘‘

Ale­sana said when the chil­dren were taught the songs, both the lit­eral and emo­tional mean­ings of the words were ex­plained.

‘‘When we teach the ta­mariki we make sure that we teach not just the mean­ing but the in­tent of the song,’’ he said.

He said kapa haka was ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a resur­gence across the coun­try for all ages.

‘‘From pri­mary schools to sec­ondary schools to adults. As part of the wider strate­gic plan for kapa haka through­out the re­gion, we are look­ing at grow­ing cul­tural prac­ti­tion­ers and per­form­ers that will, in the fu­ture, be­come the fu­ture lead­ers so hav­ing our ta­mariki in­volved in the com­pe­ti­tion al­lows us to play our part in that resur­gence.’’

There would be team cel­e­bra­tion at school on Mon­day, Ale­sana said.

Nel­son Cen­tral School prin­ci­pal Pip Wells paid trib­ute to the ‘‘amaz­ing, highly-skilled team of teach­ers and sup­port crew’’.

‘‘The group is a tal­ented team who have learnt how hard work and high ex­pec­ta­tions lead to pride in them­selves. These qual­i­ties will stay with them for the rest of their lives, she said.

‘‘The hard work, train­ing, fundrais­ing and or­gan­i­sa­tion has been many, many months in the mak­ing. It is a trib­ute to them all.’’

MELISSA BANKS

Stu­dents from Nel­son Cen­tral School were awarded sec­ond place in the com­pe­ti­tion for the Te Aroha a Ran­gita¯ne Trophy at a na­tional kapa haka fes­ti­val.

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