Te Matai kapa haka shines in top ech­e­lon

Te Puke Times - - News - By STU­ART WHI­TAKER [email protected]­times.co.nz

Just three more points and Te Matai: Te Kura a¯ Iwi o Ta­puika would be rep­re­sent­ing Te Arawa at a na­tional kapa haka com­pe­ti­tion.

The Wai­tangi school sent 32 of its 59 pupils to the Te Arawa Pri­mary School Kapa Haka re­gional com­pe­ti­tion in Taupo¯ .

“We think we were the small­est school in the com­pe­ti­tion,” says prin­ci­pal Angie Wi­hapi.

That didn’t stop the school get­ting five plac­ings and just miss­ing out on be­ing one of the five schools go­ing for­ward to Te Mana Ku­ratahi, the na­tional pri­mary school kapa haka com­pe­ti­tion next year.

Un­der tu­tors Bren­nan Ho­hep­abar­rett and Rau­miria Robin­son Te Matai placed first in kakahu (uni­form), sec­ond in te reo, sec­ond in wa­iata ta¯ whito and sec­ond in haka. Te­whetuki Ho­hepa-bar­rett was sec­ond in Kaita¯ taki tane (male leader) over the en­tire

com­pe­ti­tion. The Te Arawa com­pe­ti­tion is held ev­ery sec­ond year and this is the sec­ond time Te Matai have par­tic­i­pated.

“All the rest of the schools are Ro­torua schools and it’s quite a pow­er­ful re­gion for kapa haka,” says Angie.

“The plac­ings we got were plac­ings in the dis­ci­plines that were the top end — so we were recog­nised among some of the best in New Zealand. That com­pe­ti­tion is one of the tough­est to go to in New Zealand. But we choose to go where all the big guns are.”

Angie says go­ing into the con­test, the group set it­self the goal of a place at the na­tional com­pe­ti­tion.

“We didn’t know how we were go­ing to go, but we did be­lieve and when the re­sults were com­ing out, we were ‘oh wow, it’s within our grasp’.”

The group also per­formed — although with a dif­fer­ent rou­tine — at the non-com­pet­i­tive Karanga o te Ran­gatahi at Pon­gakawa School in Septem­ber.

Angie says tak­ing part in kapa haka gives stu­dents the chance to learn about val­ues.

“It’s also about build­ing con­fi­dence within the tribe and the school as well be­cause we haven’t been known to be a big kapa haka school within the Ro­torua re­gion. But now they are ask­ing, ‘who are they? Where have they come from and how did they do that?’.”

The Te Arawa Pri­mary School Kapa Haka Re­gional Com­pe­ti­tion is for chil­dren aged 8 to 12, who per­form in 30-minute slots in a range of dif­fer­ent cat­e­gories in­clud­ing wa­iata, haka, and poi.

Thir­teen schools per­formed at the event, which was held at the Taupo¯ Events Cen­tre.

ABOVE: Te Matai Te Kura a¯ Iwi o Ta­puika kapa haka group just prior to tak­ing the stage at the Te Arawa Pri­mary School Kapa Haka Re­gional Com­pe­ti­tion in Taupo¯ . LEFT: Te Matai Te Kura a¯ Iwi o Ta­puika kapa haka group lead­ers Te Aoka­pu­rangi Hopeha-bar­rett and Te­whetuki Ho­hepa-bar­rett. Te­whetuki was placed sec­ond in Kaita¯ taki tane (male leader) over the en­tire com­pe­ti­tion.

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