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Kapa haka brings Tawa families together

Jun 30th, 2010 | By | Category: Diversity, Front Page Layout, Latest News

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JESS Clark Te Pania, Makarena Tutua-Nathan and Jade Gifford are in full kapa haka costume – including painted-on moko – and ready to perform  at Tawa Primary School.

The community whanau group draws lots of members from the school, and tutor Karen Gifford said it was Tawa School whanau who drove the creation of Mana Tiaki.

ManaTiakiMAIN 2“It takes a village to raise a child,” says Karen. Kapa haka is a way to bring families of all backgrounds together.

Children from Tawa Primary School also performed, impressing their whanau and staff with a Matariki-themed kapa haka concert.

The school hosted the whanau consultation evening, inviting all 320 pupils and their families to watch their kids perform waiata learned in the weekly school kapa haka groups.

Tawa School’s students reflect the diversity of New Zealand, with 41% identifying as European/Pakeha, 29% Maori, 15% Asian and 13% Pasifika.

The event aimed to let everyone know how Maori culture and language is incorporated into the school, said principal Ian Dewar.

“Participation in a group like this does more than any single thing we do in the classroom,” he told the audience after the children performed.

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KAPA KIDS: Tangiahua Kerekere (left) and Phaedra Chin, ready to perform.

The discipline, social skills, patience, and co-ordination developed while learning the action songs is hugely beneficial for all the pupils, he said.

Tawa School has two objectives regarding their Maori students: “We want students to feel safe and proud to be Maori at Tawa School, and we want to help Maori students realise their potential.”

Maori programmes at the school include weekly kapa haka lessons, and Maori perspectives are included in every major topic in class.

For at least one term a year the pupils have weekly te reo classes, and there is an extension group for pupils who show aptitude in the language.

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is a student at Whitireia studying the National Diploma in Journalism (Multimedia).
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