Te Kura o Te Teko winners of the Rangitaiki Cultural Festival

Te Kura o Te Teko have taken out their regional kapa haka competition of Te Rangitaiki over the weekend. They are also last year winners of the national primary schools held in Gisborne.

The Rangitaiki festival was a two day event held in Whakatāne. The hall was parked to the rafters. While Te Teko School took centre stage representing their small community, Mac Pryor of Te Teko says “the whole community is here today, the elders, our babies, we have set aside our attention for the rugby team in Te Teko to be here”.

Out of the 37 performers from Te Teko that won the national primary schools haka festival last year in Gisborne, only 12 of them from that original team stood today. Poono Te Poono of Te Teko says “each year there is a new generation, so each generation comes with their skill set, the role of the tutor is to acknowledge those skills and nurture them”.

26 teams have performed within the two sections of this festival which includes the novice and competition. “Lucky this was run over two day for all the schools of Rangitaiki to showcase their talents” says Mike Panapa.

Te Wharekura o Huiarau from Ruatāhuna has been missing from this festival for 17 years. Today they returned to the fold with a message to the rest of the regional to hold fast to their traditions. Kathleen Tahi of Tūhoe says “the language is important, retaining the dialect for our children retaining their unique language is very important”.

Four teams will represent this region at the national primary schools competition next year in Waikato. They include Te Kura o Te Teko, Te Wharekura o Ruatoki, Te Kura o Te Paroa and Te Kura o Taneatua.