Children from Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Waioweka recently came second out of 56 schools at the Te Mana Kuratahi Kapa Haka Nationals.

What makes their achievement even more extraordinary, is they come from a remote East Coast school with just 80 pupils.

"I don't know, the feeling is hard to explain at the moment," said the school's Kapa Haka leader, Matua Steven Tai. "But I am over the moon. I'm so proud and happy for our kids."

The Opotiki school has a rich tradition of kapa haka.


Principal, Hilda Paterson says their success lies in the support and commitment of the tutors.

"Credit must go back to them because of the way they nurtured our children during the practices," she said. "Yes, there is some growling. But within those growlings, you always hear the aroha in their voice."

The rural, full-immersion kura is proud of its history - a pride which is reflected in their performance.

"Our people being who they are - humble and very quiet people - when they do Haka, it just brings out all that confidence; the ihi, wehi and wana," says Whaea Hilda.

The kapa haka team spent six full days together prior to the tournament. Matua Steven says it was all about creating a sense of whānau.

"We pretty much gave everything in that last week prior to heading down to Gisborne. We wanted them to be the best. I believe we made that standard with a lot of hours gone into practicing."

Their next goal? To take out the top prize at the 2019 Nationals in Hamilton.

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