Tauranga, Tokomaru students celebrate Te Maeva Nui 2019

By Mānia Clarke-Mamanu
Students from Aquinas College in Tauranga.

Māori students from Tauranga and Tokomaru Bay are taking part in this year's Te Maeva Nui celebrations in Rarotonga.

Thirty-two kapa haka and reo Māori pupils from Aquinas College in Tauranga took part in the float parade following the official opening service Saturday afternoon.  The students performed an impromptu Tauranga Moana haka before distinguished guests, locals and tourists.

“The experience was great,” said Reo Māori/kapa haka tutor Tuwharetoa (Tu) Hapi.

“The kids weren’t expecting that,” he said, “It’s something that they all knew, so it’s good for them to do something in those impromptu moments.”

Mānia Clarke-Mamanu with Aquinas College students in Te Maeva Nui Parade. 

Fourteen students from East Coast School Hatea-a-Rangi, along with whānau, were happy spectators soaking in the ambience of the drums, hula and colour of the celebrations.

Koka Mihi Arihia Matahiki says they are here to strengthen the whakapapa links of their students to the Cook Islands.

“When we established our sleeping house at Tokomaru Bay in 1934 we named it Te Hono ki Rarotonga,” says Matahiki. “Since then we have had several exchange trips between our school and schools from Avarua, Rarotonga.”

Te Maeva Nui celebrations continue for the next 10 days, with a Cultural Ura competition, business trade and cultural exhibitions and a National Church Service and Constitution Commemoration.

Tomorrow, Hatea-a-Rangi School will perform at the Punanganui Markets along with other cultural groups, and Aquinas College will perform in the international section of Te Maevan Nui Ura competition next Wednesday night (Rarotonga Time).