16 Jun Dedicated kapa haka group set to go places

Kapa haka is experiencing a resurgence at Te Kareti o Neirana  under the leadership of kaiako Māori Chanel Ngaruhe and the expert guidance of tutor Haka Williams.

Students from both the whānau class and the rest of school can be found practising waiata, haka and poi on Monday, Wednesday and Friday lunchtimes as part of the group Te Whānau o Neirana.

Group member and Year 9 student Trinity Reuben-Ngatai has been involved with kapa haka alongside her mum since age three. She likes the opportunity to learn new songs and new poi actions.

Year 10 tauira Winiata Tairaki Whiu often is called on to lead the boys in the haka.  He also has a history with kapa haka that goes back through Broadgreen Intermediate to primary school. 

Winiata appreciates the knowledge of tikanga that comes with practising and performing. “We get to carry on the Māori generation in a way,” he said. “I’d just like to see it carry on because my brother’s coming here next year.”

Te Whānau o Neirana is in good hands under Haka and Whaea Chanel. Both have a background in kapa haka performance, with Haka previously employed full-time as a performer at tourist attractions in Christchurch. She’s also competed regionally, nationally and in Sydney.

The pair’s vision is to see the group grow in numbers and strengthen in confidence and ability. “I hope that more members from outside whānau class & students that do not currently take te reo will  also be enthused & feel comfortable to participate & make a commitment to our kapa,” Whaea Chanel said.

Meanwhile, Haka has her eyes set on the group participating in the regional competition next year and nationally the year after. In the short term she’s been impressed with the long way students have already come in their commitment and confidence. “I’m loving my job,” she said.

For now, the group is looking at fundraising & funding for new kākahu, a new guitar & a guitarist or two. If you think you can awhi, or if you or any of your whānau are interested in being involved in kapa haka in any way, please pop in and see Chanel or email her: chanel.ngaruhe@nayland.school.nz.

By Sera King