School’s heart leads to kapa haka joy
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.
Te Wharekura o Te Kaokaoroa o Patetere tutors Aaron Koopu and Kaia Church-hauiti.