Taranaki schools combine to compete at regional kapa haka compeition

By Dion Hosking

Three Taranaki schools will combine to take on Aotea’s top secondary school kapa haka teams at the Aotea regional competitions. The Aotea regional's will be held this Friday 30 June, a day after the regional Ngā Manu Kōrero speech competitions.

Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Ngāti Ruanui, Te Kura o Ngā Ruahinerangi and Te Wharekura o te Pihipihinga Kākano Mai I Rangiatea will compete as individual schools at the Ngā Manu Kōrero competition, however, they will combine to form a single kapa haka called  Te Kureitanga for the Aotea regional competition.

Tutor, Tweke Inia, (Te Āti Awa, Waikato) says he is looking forward to seeing the combined Taranaki whānui team compete for the first time and believes they have a good chance of taking one of two spots on offer to the Aotea region.

It hasn’t always been easy for the three schools to come together over the last 10 weeks with both South Taranaki kura having the extra logistical hurdle of travelling over 70km to New Plymouth each Tuesday, to practice throughout the night and the following day before returning home late in the afternoon says Inia.

The combined team number just 31 students, nine fewer than the maximum 40 permitted under the rules of the competition.  Inia says that they are ready and although lower on numbers than some schools, they can compete and place.

“I believe this rōpū has a very good chance of making the nationals.”

2017 marks the first year that Te Wharekura o te Pihipihinga Kākano Mai I Rangiatea will compete in all four sections at the Ngā Manu Kōrero competition. Senior Māori, Senior English. Junior Māori and Junior English.

Since the wharekura was re-established in 2013, Te Pihipihinga has had junior speakers represented every year, with Tatyana  Glassie (Taranaki Tūturu, Te Āti Awa) placing 7th overall in the reo Māori section at the National competitions held in Whangarei in 2016.

This year Tatyana will step up to the Senior Māori and English sections where her wharekura principal Moana Kake-Tuffley believes she will do well, but expressed that supporting the kaupapa was paramount and there were no expectations on the students, however, placings and tickets to the national competition were well within the students grasp and abilities.

“We always hope for them to place but that is not their main focus,”

“I’m confident in saying that I’m confident in the way they will represent themselves, No matter what happens these students can be very proud of themselves," says Kake-Tuffley.

Her sentiments were supported by Inia who says, "although we do compete as three kura in the speech competitions we are one and we will support all our speakers as if they were from our own kura."

Both competitions will be hosted in Whanganui.

  • Aotea Ngā Manu Kōrero- Thursday 29th June
  • Pae Rangatahi (Kapa Haka) - Friday 30th June

Video and photo courtesy of Moana Kake-Tuffley Footage from 2015