Te Kura Kaupapa in hip hop debut

Kamo High School and Bay of Islands College are the hippest, hoppest schools in the region, taking out first place in each category of the competition.

Last Saturday's event saw seven high school groups from around Northland battle it out in front of a crowd of around 400 at ASB Stadium in Whangarei.

Sport Northland's hip hop programme leader Hayden Wood said the judges had a tough job, especially in the crew division, where only a couple of points separated first and third place.

The judges were also impressed with the creativity and skill level demonstrated by all dance groups, particularly in the open division, where groups infused Maori culture with hip hop dance.

"Bay of Islands College produced what I think to be one of the best open division performances in the history of the competition, delivering an inspiring routine that included the use of Maori weaponry to modern music with an awesome message behind the routine," Mr Wood said.

The hotly-contested crew division saw Kamo High School improve on their third placing at last year's competition to take out first place, with Whangarei Girls High School second and Tikipunga High School third.

Judge Annalise Wood, who has coached hip hop crews on an international level, was impressed with the high standard.

"All the groups that competed ... showed us judges that Northland has some extremely talented dancers, and that if they worked hard enough they could easily foot it with the best in the world."

First-time competitors Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Kaikohe came in full force, taking second place in the open division with 20 dancers representing their kura, the most dancers from any school on the night. They were also the only school to enter both the open and the crew divisions.

"Their two crews held their own ... and with most of the dancers being aged between 11 and 15, these guys and girls will be ones to watch out for in the future," Mr Wood said.

- Northern Advocate

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