Our cultures celebrated
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.