Performing kapa haka is special to the tamariki of Te Arawa, including those at Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Hurungaterangi.

"This belongs to them, it's their culture," school principal Oriana Lemon said.

Hundreds of students from about a dozen Rotorua schools had spent weeks practicing and preparing to take the stage in today's Te Arawa Primary School Kapa Haka Regional Competition held in Taupō.

Lemon said it was the second time the school had made it into the regional competition and she was proud of the work 34 of her students had put in.


"They are very nervous but very excited," she told the Rotorua Daily Post.

Tamariki aged 8 to 12-years-old would perform in 30-minute slots in a range of different categories including waiata, haka, and poi.

Lemon said there was no shortage of support for Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Hurungaterangi as 150 of their allocated tickets to the event sold out immediately.

"Our whānau are very supportive, we had a dress rehearsal yesterday [Thursday] and we had to keep grabbing more chairs to fit everyone in," Lemon said.

The students of Te Arawa were very talented and the standard of performances would be very high, Lemon said.

"I'm very proud of our tamariki and our hopes are high of them doing well."

Schools performing today at the Taupō Events Centre:
- Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Whakarewa I Te Reo ki Tuwharetoa (9am)
- Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Ruamata (9.30am)
- Rotorua Intermediate School (10am)
- Malfroy Intermediate (10.30am)
- Mokoia Intermediate School (11.30am)
- Whangamarino School (12pm)
- Te Matai - Te Kura a Iwi o Tapuika (12.30pm)
- Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Te Rotoiti/ Lake Rotoma School (2pm)
- Kaitao Intermediate School (2.30pm)
- Te Kura o Hirangi (3pm)
- Te Kura o Te Koutu (3.30pm)
- Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Hurungaterangi (4pm)
- Te Wharekura o Ngati Rongomai (4.30pm)