Passion, practice and giving it their all made for some exceptional performances at the Kapa Haka Hakatere Cultural Festival on Wednesday.
The Ashburton Event Centre was filled with colour and sound as a large number of local schools took part in the festival.
Kapa means to stand in a row and Haka is a dance, so it follows that Kapa Haka means standing in a row performing traditional Maori dances, while singing or chanting words.
In this festival the cultural aspect was not limited to indigenous New Zealand.
Netherby Pacifica Group injected a Pacifica element to the festival when their group took to the stage resplendent in green lava lavas and ceremonial headdresses for the girls.
Dorie School took the stage looking fantastic in their purple outfits.
Their impressive six-man opening haka, led by eleven year old Jason Reign, was passionate enough to rival even the best All Black efforts.
When asked if they were nervous to be on stage in front of such a large crowd, the Dorie students replies ranged between, yes I was really nervous, to a Nah, I’ve been in this festival three times before I wasn’t worried.
Allenton School’s Kapa Haka Performance Group included the Leonard Cohen classic Hallelujah sung in Maori.
The Year four to Year six students delivered a flawless performance that left more than a few listeners reaching for the tissues.
Fiona Maw of Allenton School said the festival is a great way for local schools to come together and celebrate culture.
“It is really good for the different schools to see how others perform,” she said.
“Some of the songs may be the same, but different actions can make it seem completely different.
“This is not a competition, just a celebration of culture in our area.
“The children have been rehearsing all year and when they are on stage you can see they put their heart and soul into it.”
– By Heather Mackenzie