Kapahaka competition at Nga Purapura

By Margaret Andrews

With taiaha at the ready it was into song and action from the Te Kura –a-iwi O Whakatupuranga Rua Mano kapahaka group
With taiaha at the ready it was into song and action from the Te Kura –a-iwi O Whakatupuranga Rua Mano kapahaka group

The first kapahaka competitions for the Wellington region’s primary kura were hosted by Otaki’s three Mäori kura at the end of October.

The day-long event held at Nga Purapura saw teams from Otaki, Porirua and Seatoun, competing for trophies and a place in both individual presentations – male and female leaders and costume, as well as aggregate — combined points. There was an impressive lineup of judges watching and listening to every move, every part of every performance.

Our local kura — Te Korowai Whakamana — Otaki School (TKW), Te Kura Kaupapa Maori O te Rito and Te Kura-a-iwi o Whakatupuranga Rua Mano (WRM), organised a very successful day with strong support from older students and families to assist with the day. This included providing kai – food for lunch for the judges and elders attending. The wet weather didn’t help matters, as the children made their way to the big gym, dressed in their costumes and moko.

With two groups competing, TKW’s youngest children — nohinohi — finished the day in fifth place overall and the tuakana in fourth place overall from the seven roopu – groups performing. TKW were placed second in the kaitataki taitama – male leader, and third in the kaitataki kohine – female leader, and second for kakahu — costume. These were individual awards. In the aggregate placings – all points added together, they won third in the waiata tira – choral, second in whakawatea – exit song, third for their haka, and won the new composition section.

The other Otaki kura were also well placed in the various competitions.

“A beautiful festival and an opportunity for the kura to get together,” Te Korowai Whakamana team leader, Yvonne Tahere said. “This was the first one (competition) held in the lower North Island as Otaki (south) are not eligible for the Manawatu competition, so are unable to attend the national competition. Representatives from each of the schools have met over the last year to organise the competition so we are all now eligible to attend the national Primary Schools competition.”

This will be a biennial event, with the next competition hosted by Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Nga Mokopuna, Seatoun, in 2016. Te Kura Maori o Porirua was the other kura competing, with another group from further north here to observe.