Call to reclaim largest haka record

By Nathan Crombie -
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EN MASSE: A haka at Masterton Intermediate School involving more than 400 students on the final day of term.
EN MASSE: A haka at Masterton Intermediate School involving more than 400 students on the final day of term.

Masterton Intermediate School is aiming to get 5000 people together to reclaim the largest haka in the world record and bring it home.

Principal Russell Thompson said the MIS haka titled Ko Wairarapa, written by parent Paora Ammunson, will be performed for the Guinness World Records bid at Memorial Park in Masterton on September 8.

Deputy principal Cam Maunder was to produce an instructional video of MIS students performing the haka, which will be distributed to schools throughout Wairarapa.

"We're putting things in place now for the attempt. The video will go out to show those who want to be involved about the actions, and more importantly, the beat," Mr Thompson said.

"We set a target of 5000 people because the world record is about 4000 and is held by the French, and we thought 'what the heck are they doing with the title'. We need it get it back here."

The record was set by 4028 participants at the Stade Amedee-Domenech in France on September 27, 2014, and beat the previous record of 3,264 in New Zealand in 2008.

Mr Russell said students from Tinui School and Solway primary School were already in line to take lessons for the Wairarapa attempt and the kapa haka culture at MIS was bounding from strength to strength.

The school held a haka competition on the final day of the term that involved the head-to-head battle of syndicate kapa haka teams, and the Tama Toa boys' performance group.

He said teams were judged on their entrance and exit, volume, actions, kaha (strength), and teamwork and were awarded points for each element of their performance.

The judging panel included Raana Campbell, Rick Luff, Liz Tocher and Ngatai Walker and the competition was "extremely close", Mr Thompson said.

Waingawa syndicate came out as winners with a score of 178 out of a possible 200 points, while Waiohine took second place with 173.5 points and Tauwharenikau took third with 173.

The outstanding male performer was Year 8 student Matai Ammunson and the outstanding girl was Year 7 student Lela Pitau.

"I was very proud of the three performances that culminated in the whole school: 420 students."

Mr Thompson said the 86 kapa haka students and five Student Leaders had been exceptional role models for the school at the funeral service for former MIS teacher aide Charmaine Waitere earlier this month.

"The waiata and haka performances were both very well received by those attending but the most pleasing feature for me was the behaviour of all those wearing the MIS uniform."

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