Celebration of Maori culture

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North Canterbury’s kapa haka celebration is continuing to grow.
Initiated by Tuahiwi School in 2006, the Ka Matakura o Ruataniwha – North Canterbury Kapahaka Celebration began with just six schools and has now grown to include more than 13 schools and 28 performing groups.
It will be held at the Ohoka Community Hall on Wednesday and Thursday, September 14 to 15, with performances during the day and on Thursday evening.
Festival organiser Dianne Collier says participating schools this year include, Tuahiwi, Kaiapoi High, Kaiapoi Borough, Kaiapoi North, Ashgrove, Clarkville, Woodend, Pegasus Bay, Hanmer Springs, Ohoka, Oxford and Cheviot Area Schools. They will be joined by Ouruhia, Marshlands and Aranui Combined Schools from Christchurch.
‘‘The philosophy at the beginning was having a bilingual event to encourage others to give it a go and we have seen a huge growth from other schools who were nervous, but are enthusiastic supporters now.’’
Several schools will have more than one kapa haka group performing, with some groups sharing four songs, while others will give a 20 minute performance. The best groups will perform twice over the two days.
Kaiapoi High School uses the festival as an opportunity for its performers to assess their progress towards gaining NCEA performing arts credits.
Ms Collier says Tuahiwi School is ‘‘a small country school’’ and has no venue for such an event, but that has not stopped it from aiming high.
Over the years the festival has been held at various venues including the Kaiapoi High School auditorium, the Rangiora Baptist Church hall and the Kaiapoi Borough School hall.
Tuahiwi School covers the cost of the event and will run a sausage sizzle, cake stall and raffles during the event and there will be door sales to cover the costs. The festival is also the school’s annual cultural fundraiser.
Performances will be on Wednesday from 10am to 12.15pm, while on Thursday there will be two daytime sessions and an evening session from 6pm to 8.45pm.