Last week Te Puke High School celebrated its 10th annual Cultural Week.
The purpose of Cultural Week is to strengthen the identity of diverse cultures at the school and to celebrate diversity with students, whānau and community, says deputy principal Polly Thin-Rabb.
This year Cultural Week included a lunchtime cultural games event, cultural gala, small group cultural activities, the Multicultural Performance Celebration and Matariki celebrations.
''Over the last 10 years the festival has grown hugely, thanks to the leadership of ESOL teacher Kristina Peina. This event is a student driven one, organised by the Te Puke High School Cultural Committee, who meet weekly,'' says Polly.
The Matariki celebration was organised by the Māori Student Leadership Council and was the first of its kind at Te Puke High School.
The students worked hard all morning to prepare a hangi for 150 students, staff and community members, including kaumātua. Celebrations also included playing the traditional Māori game ki o rahi.
Polly says one of the highlights of this year's Cultural Week was the Multicultural Performance Celebration.
''Local primary schools, whānau and community were treated to 20 acts of amazing talent that included the Te Puke High School Kapa Haka group, Ngā Māhanga Huia which opened the evening with a rousing 20 minutes performance.
''Teacher Debbie Rahurahu and tutor Patuara Biel have been working hard with this group of approximately 40 students to bring this performance to fruition.''
Other cultural performances included Tongan, Indian, Samoan, J Pop, Kiribati, K Pop, Korean, Cook Island and fusion Pasifika dance and song.
Hosting the show were Te Puke High School's 2020 cultural leaders Biritoka Toniki and Santo Taumata as well as Cultural Leadership Council students Karavir Dhillon and Manjot Kaur.
"This show is amazing because often senior students teach their dances to younger students, passing down their cultural knowledge and expertise,'' says Polly.
''It also helps us as a school make stronger connections with other local schools and our community.''
This year the community and intermediate school groups included Nesian Pride from Te Puke Intermediate School, Korean Fan Dancers from Otumoetai Intermediate School, a group of Kiribati mums and Isabel Ataniberu who performed a Kiribati solo dance.