Schools head south for kapa haka

Pictured during a rehearsal run through in the Te Awamutu College marae – Ō-Tāwhao – were, front row from left, Stella Wills, Dejah Stojanovic-Stark, Manasseh Morgan, Aurora Tamaki and Stacey Tamaki.

Unity proved the foundation of a day on which organisers marked the 40th anniversary of the Maniapoto Secondary Schools’ Cultural Festival last Friday at Te Kuiti High School.

Three Te Awamutu schools – Te Awamutu College, Te Awamutu Intermediate School and Te Wharekura o Nga Purapura o Te Aroha attended.

Ōtorohanga College was also represented.About 200 students in total performed.

Friday marked the first time in three years the festival had been held.

Te Awamutu College Māori and Pasifika achievement and success co-ordinator Kathy Anso – who also helps oversee the school’s kapa haka programme – told The News their attendance was made possible because Te Rā Whakamana Rangatahi 2023 – a major kapa haka festival which had been planned at Kihikihi School – did not go ahead.

There are plans for it to have an “exceptional” return in 2024.

“It was really enjoyable to be part of,” Kathy said.

Te Kuiti High School deputy principal Stella Stewart said as part of acknowledging the festival’s 40th anniversary, a tribute was paid to the late Tuti Aranui, who had a long-standing association with kapa haka.

She added it was “lovely” to host the visiting schools, with the day being one.

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