Our cul­tures cel­e­brated

South Waikato News - - FRONT PAGE - By ADEN MILES

The sym­bol­ism was im­mense.

The Plaza sat in si­lence and the the­atre’s cur­tains were closed, then the stomp­ing sound of the Cook Is­land drums shat­tered the silent ve­neer as it vi­brated its way to the back of the the­atre, mark­ing the ar­rival of the South Waikato Cul­tural Fes­ti­val 2011.

Stu­dents from through­out the South Waikato District per­formed kapa haka and Poly­ne­sian rou­tines at the week­end at The Plaza in Pu­taruru as more than 500 peo­ple watched from the au­di­ence.

A myr­iad of dis­tinc­tive cos­tumes were splashed across the stage and mul­ti­ple in­stru­ments were heard.

The fes­ti­val was opened by Pu­taruru’s Te Kaokaoroa o Patetere and one of the crowd’s favourites were the chil­dren of Te Rau Oriwa Early Learn­ing Cen­tre who were ac­com­pa­nied by their care­givers.

Thir­teen schools were in­volved this year in­clud­ing Te Kaokaoroa o Patetere, Am­is­field School, Toko­roa Cen­tral School, Bishop Ed­ward Gaines, Cargill Open Plan School, David Henry Pri­mary School, Tainui Full Pri­mary School, Toko­roa In­ter­me­di­ate School, Te Rau Oriwa Early Learn­ing Cen­tre, Man­gakino Area School, St Mary’s Catholic School, Strath­more Pri­mary School and Toko­roa High School.

While the stu­dents were the main per­form­ers, mem­bers of the au­di­ence also showed their dance moves when Toko­roa In­ter­me­di­ate School’s Poly­ne­sian group se­lected in­di­vid­u­als to per­form a Poly­ne­sian dance on stage.

This year’s fes­ti­val had ex­panded and re-branded it­self. Pre­vi­ously known as the Poly­ne­sian Fes­ti­val, the new name, South Waikato Cul­tural Fes­ti­val, in­cluded the en­tire district.

Fes­ti­val com­mit­tee chair­man Jar­rod Boon said the new move not only in­cor­po­rated the district, it also ac­knowl­edged the other cul­tures within it.

CUL­TURAL FES­TI­VAL: Schools from through­out the South Waikato District were well sup­ported at the South Waikato Cul­tural Fes­ti­val. One of the big­gest rounds of ap­plause was re­served for Toko­roa High School’s Te Puna Vai Ora.

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