Kapa haka group taking on NZ

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One of the city’s high school kapa haka groups is hard at work preparing to represent Otago in a national competition next month.
He Waka Kotuia, the combined King’s and Queen’s High School kapa haka group, will represent the region at the National Secondary Schools Kapa Haka Competition in Napier next month.
They were one of two Otago/ Southland schools which progressed to the national competition after the regional event in August last year, Queen’s Te Reo Maori teacher Cherie Ford said.
The other group is Te Wharekura o Arowhenua, of Invercargill.
Mrs Ford said the 36-strong Dunedin group had been busy rehearsing since the regionals and practised for seven hours as a group each week, along with their own additional personal practice at home.
‘‘It’s a huge effort.’’
It would be the third time since 2012 the group, made up of year 9 to 13 pupils from the schools, had gone to nationals.
Year 13 Queen’s pupil Lily Collins (17), who attended both previous national competitions, said she was looking forward to returning for a third time.
She said her favourite thing about the competition was ‘‘being able to represent my tribe, my iwi, in kapa haka’’.
Watching the ‘‘famous groups’’ that regularly won the competition would also be a highlight.
Year 11 King’s pupil Chanse Peita (16), who will attend the competition for the first time, said he was looking forward to performing with his school whanau.
‘‘Just hearing us all singing together, it sounds amazing.’’
He was also looking forward to performing the haka.
The group had been busy fundraising, as it was costing them about $50,000 to get to the competition, Mrs Ford said.
They aimed to raise at least $2000 every month.
The group was led by a team of staff including Mrs Ford, Komene Cassidy, Paulette Tamati-Elliffe, Angelina Kiore and Jonathon Waters. – He Waka Kotuia will attend the National Secondary Schools Kapa Haka Competition from July 26-29.