Whakatāne Intermediate has put out a last-minute call to the competing teams of The Rangitaiki Festival.
Changes had to be made to get the competition up and running, newly elected chair Ngāmihi Moses says. "All of the teachers/students from each kura that actually had roopu going through, we got together and we just made it happen."
The Rangitaiki Festival has been going for over 40 years, with many schools from around the Whakatāne area competing for a spot to represent their kura, whānau, hapū and iwi at the national competition. In 2018 the competition was held at the Whakatāne War Memorial Hall packed to capacity. But this year will be the first time it will be an audience-free event, with only the tutors and judges present.
"We actually did look at so many other options. We asked if we could just select our top four without having to perform but that was turned down because other rohe were still hosting their regionals and so we had to do a fast track and decide what we had to do, so the delegates suggested find a hall and we just need a hall and to perform," Moses says.
It was not an easy decision for the organising committee to make but getting the kids up to perform and qualify for the national competition to be held in Nelson next year was the main focus.
"For all our whakataetae roopu, some of them are a bit pouri cause their whānau don't get to watch them so, other than that, they know the No 1 goal is to try to make it to the top three."
Te Kura o Te Pāroa is the titleholder for Mana Kura Tahi and it says it will give its all at tomorrow's competition, no matter how big or small the crowd is.
The nine competing teams will stand before the judges and their tutors tomorrow. Three teams will qualify for the Mana Kura Tahi that will be held in Nelson next year. A livestream of the day's performances can be watched on Tumeke FM's Facebook page.