It's haere mai Potter in new talent section

By Mikaela Collins -
A new talent section in this year's Kapa Haka could mean a Maori Harry Potter may be on show.
A new talent section in this year's Kapa Haka could mean a Maori Harry Potter may be on show.

A Maori Harry Potter may be on show at this year's Te Tai Tokerau Kapa Haka Festival thanks to a new talent section.

The 41st annual event will take place next month, hosted by Otamatea High School in Maungaturoto.

The school's te reo Maori teacher, Thomaseena Paul, said the school last hosted the event 10 years ago. This year Te Tai Tokerau Kapa Haka Festival would feature a talent section called Ngahau where each of the 30 participating schools would have five minutes to showcase their talent, she said.

"Kapa haka will still be the main focus but we want to expose kids to a variety of talents. One school, I believe, is bringing an opera singer, one will be playing the piano and there will someone doing a Maori Harry Potter."

She said the event was not a competition and allowed students to be "explicitly Maori".

"Students have the chance to showcase kapa haka. In the lead up to this they practise for about 80 hours. It allows them to be explicitly Maori and it's about whakawhanaungatanga (building relationships)."

Each school has 25 minutes to showcase their routine. Ms Paul said this year's theme was "Kaitiaakitanga - tiakina te reo, tiakina te whenua, tiakina te tangata".

Tiakina te reo is about guarding language so the event will have bilingual MCs as well as a sign language interpreter. Tiakina te whenua is about looking after the environment so the event will have a zero waste scheme, and tiakina te tangata is about looking after people which will be reflected in the array of health, iwi and educational stalls.

"It's all about everything that is good for Maori," said Ms Paul.

The festival would also host sports activities for kids, bouncy castles and rides in a bid of being more tamariki-friendly. There would also be a range of kai. Punters would be able to win spot prizes from NorthTec and Te Runanga o Ngati Whatua.

- The event is at Otamatea High School on April 13 and 14.

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