Thousands are expected to participate in Te Awamutu’s annual kapa haka celebration next month.
“The highlight of the event is that it is for everybody, it is not just something that is aimed towards just Māori, it is a vehicle to bring all cultures together,” said Te Wharekura o Ngā Purapura o Te Aroha principal, Jade Tapine.
His wharekura will to host the November 11 festival, named Te Rā Whakamana Rangatahi, a Celebration of Our Young People.
Tapine says up to 1800 people and students from most schools in the greater Te Awamutu area are expected to attend the festival in the Te Awamutu Events Centre.
School in Te Awamutu embrace kapa haka, he said.
“They give it a good go and that is what it is all about – it is going to be a celebration not a competition, it is a day to celebrate them,” he said.
Jaedyn Randell, who is the voice of Moana in the Te Reo version of the Disney movie, will be one of the event’s MCs.
Tapine says the event will be a celebration of culture.
“Kapa haka for us is like a vehicle to be able to express our uniqueness and tell our stories. It is an artistic expression of who we are as Māori, we do that through song, through haka.”
Because of Covid restrictions, this year’s event has been three years in the making, “for us and for everybody,” Tapine said.
“We are trying to make the most of this opportunity, because who knows what the future will hold for us, and when the next pandemic will strike? We have to really live in the moment and celebrate when we can.”