From Haka to Hula - Rākaumanga Hawai'i bound

By Rahia Timutimu

Te Wharekura o Rākaumanga will travel to Hawai'i later this year in memorial of the late Tomairangi Paki. Paki worked closely with the mana whenua of Hawai'i and was taught the logistics of Hula, which she brought back to her people of the Waikato region.

Students from the school performed at the Tāmaki Herenga Festival, to support the event as well as boosting their fund-raising efforts.

Ora Kihi, from Rākaumanga, says “ This is a way we can fundraise to go to Hawai'i, to remember Tomairangi, that’s the main reason why we’re going, to combine the haka with hula”.

Tomairangi Paki the elder sister of King Tuheitia passed away last year.  She had an appreciation for hula and helped fuse it within the local haka groups of Huntly, in particular, her own haka team, Taniwharau.

“She went there a long time ago, she returned and started a hula scheme, now these kids will go and do the same, this was important to Tomairangi,” says Kihi.

For many of the students, the trip holds a special family meaning. Some parents of the group took this same journey 20 years ago, now their children will follow in their footsteps.

Tamia Rapana is one student that will travel later this year. “Most of us are really into hula,” she says, “We’re really excited to go and experience Hawai'i”.

It will cost $3000 per student to travel to Hawai'i, and they will be fundraising by doing haka with the Super Rugby franchise, the Chiefs, and performing on tourism ships.