School’s heart leads to kapa haka joy

South Waikato News - - Your Paper, Your Place - LUKE KIRKEBY

Twelve weeks of full-on ded­i­ca­tion has payed off for Te Wharekura o Te Kaokaoroa o Patetere’s se­nior kapa haka stu­dents.

Dur­ing the re­cent Tainui Sec­ondary Schools Kapa Haka Re­gion­als held in Te Kuiti a group of 39 stu­dents, age 12-18, from the Pu­taruru school placed sec­ond.

They have now qual­i­fied to take part in the highly com­pet­i­tive 2018 Kapa Haka Na­tion­als.

Tu­tors Kaia Church-hauiti and Aaron Koopu said they couldn’t be prouder.

‘‘Peo­ple only see the fi­nal 25 minute per­for­mance on stage but they don’t see how far our kids have come. They have put in a lot of work,’’ Church-hauiti said.

‘‘We started our cam­paign at the be­gin­ning of term one and we had an in­take of 60 stu­dents, many of which had never per­formed be­fore,’’ Koopu said.

‘‘We set a ba­sic cri­te­ria for them, which we pre­sented to them and then their par­ents, cov­er­ing com­mit­ment, knowl­edge of items, and how far they were will­ing to go in terms of sac­ri­fices as we had to cull back to 39 per­form­ers,’’ Church-hauiti said.

‘‘We never once made them choose but a lot gave up sport­ing com­mit­ments to make it to prac­tices on their own will.’’

‘‘It was a long 12 weeks so had a lot of overnight live-ins at the school which would start at 3pm on a Wed­nes­day un­til 3pm Thursday. We’re all tired but it was ab­so­lutely worth it,’’ she laughed.

‘‘Kapa haka is not just about the 25 min­utes on stage’’ Kaia Church-hauiti

She said hav­ing four knowl­edge­able tu­tors in­volved and an abun­dance of sup­port from the wider com­mu­nity helped.

Church-hauiti said mak­ing na­tion­als was hum­bling, but it was never their main goal.

‘‘The big­gest thing for us through­out this cam­paign was in­stalling in our kids that kapa haka is not just about the 25 min­utes on stage and be­ing on tele­vi­sion and it showed when they were on and off stage. They re­ally held them­selves,’’ she said.

‘‘In the past peo­ple have seen kapa haka as an ex­tracur­ric­u­lar ac­tiv­ity but now it’s part of the cur­ricu­lum where they can get cred­its and that is what we stress to our kids,’’ Koopu said.

‘‘We had a judge come to see us af­ter they won and he said the big­gest thing he could see in our kids was that they were so hun­gry for it. His words were ngakau Maori (Maori heart). At the end of the day that is what we tried to pro­mote,’’ Church-hauiti said.

LUKE KIRKEBY/ FAIR­FAX NZ

Te Wharekura o Te Kaokaoroa o Patetere tu­tors Aaron Koopu and Kaia Church-hauiti.

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