Six Tainui teams through to 2017 Kura Mana Tahi competition

By Taroi Black

There were a number of impressive groups at the Tainui Waka Primary School Kapa Haka Competition. Six teams have won the right to represent the region at the national Kura Mana Tahi competition next year.

Today’s competition was all about Tainui and their future.

Teacher Keihana Kingi-Takoko says, “There's no better place than performing in front of your own.”

Claudelands Arena hosted the 2017 regional competition for primary schools right across the Waikato region and with teams competing for the top six spots, to qualify for the nationals in Gisborne. This year’s defending champions, Te Wharekura o Rakaumangamanga. 

“Every year I explain to our kids that performing at home is like the nationals. Kapa haka is in our blood. It's a foundation that has been instilled by those leading adult groups like Taniwharau, Te Pou o Mangatāwhiri, Ngā Pou o Roto, Te Iti Kahurangi, Mōtai etc. They're the ones that kept us on the kapa haka map,” says Kingi-Takoko.

More than 600 children from 16 kapa haka groups competed for the first time at Claudelands Arena in front of a 25 strong judging panel.  

Competition judge Tokoaitua Winiata says, “Our committee thought that it was best that our judging panel consisted of current performer from Te Matatini and other kapa haka events. And you'll notice that some of them are still new to this arena. This type of system at these particular primary events is an early platform when they eventually compete in secondary nationals at Te Matatini.”

Te Wharekura o Rakaumangamanga takes first place. Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Te Ara Rima take second with Bernard Fergusson receiving the third spot. Te Wharekura o Te Kaokaoroa o Patetere took fourth, Te Wharekura o Te Rau Aroha finished fifth and Te Rōpū Kapa Haka o Nooera sneaking through with sixth.