Local pupils had the chance to both perform and become leaders at the Rotorua Primary School Maori Festival (Te Ahurei o Nga Kura 2016).

The festival went for all last week at the Sir Howard Morrison Performing Arts Centre.

Event organiser Iwi Te Whau said it had been fantastic, successful week.

"We have seen so many young people stepping up to the plate."

He said the festival had been operating for more than 40 years and was a generational event which happened every November.

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Mr Te Whau said most schools started preparing early, and every term started learning new skills.

Most schools had also incorporated it into their curriculum, he said.

He said every night had been a highlight and it was hard to pick out one or two groups.

"I think the main thing to come out of this week is tributes to all of those who have had an impact in Te Arawa and the Maori culture in general."

He said although the festival was a celebration of Maori performing arts they also invited schools to showcase their art work, which a few schools had brought in.

The festival allowed children to showcase their talents on stage and helped increase awareness of the Maori culture, he said.

"It's not just about performing, but building character to become stronger leaders in their community."

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He said there had been about 300 people at each session, with about 600 to 900 people per night.

Mr Te Whau said the festival had developed into about 30 schools taking part, from four when it started, and they always invited schools outside of the Rotorua area.

He said he was thankful to everyone who had participated during the 40 years and to those who made the festival happen.