Kapa haka kids shine at festival
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.’’
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.