Small but mighty kapa haka performers at Whangaruru School cultural festival

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Rylee Thompson (Whangaruru)(left), Tiana Ogle (Whananaki) and Kanaeda Thompson (Whangaruru) during their poi. Photo / Kristin Edge
Rylee Thompson (Whangaruru)(left), Tiana Ogle (Whananaki) and Kanaeda Thompson (Whangaruru) during their poi. Photo / Kristin Edge

They were pint-sized performers but their waiata and haka were delivered with massive amounts of passion and skill.

Talented kapa haka performers from Whananaki, Hikurangi, Parua Bay, Raurimu, Totara Grove, Waikare schools and Mokau Kohanga were hosted by Whangaruru School on Thursday for the annual cultural festival.

The festival, called Whakanuia Tuakiri, was aimed at empowering the young performers and making them proud of their background.

Whangaruru School principal Jamie McQueensaid the standard across all the performances had risen and there were some great items involving some serious choreography.

"One of the highlights for me was seeing them exit the stage and embracing each other. They felt something. All the children were feeling successful, and there was a sense of pride and honour about who they were."

There was also a selection of food and kaumatua and kuia sitting in their own tent were catered for all day.

Each group was presented with a kowhai tree to plant at their own school.

Mr McQueen said the event attracted about 700 visitors to the school which normally only sees 50 people on a daily basis.

Already he said there were plans in the pipeline to build a permanent stage for the event.

It might not be ready for next year's event but he hoped it would be completed by 2018.

"This is a great event and we do it for the kids," Mr McQueen.

- Northern Advocate

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