Kauri Broughton and Chylo Amai joined the Kahurangi Maori Dance Company cadetship programme in February this year.

Kauri and Chylo spent the first seven weeks of their cadetship learning online due to the Covid-19 lockdown. It was during the daily Zoom classes that the pair was introduced to their fellow performers who days before disembarked off cruise ships after performing back-to-back shows.

Now out of lockdown accelerated learning has taken on a new meaning as they have already performed professionally for the Hastings District Council Heroes awards ceremony and more recently the Toi Toi Matariki Show.

Their performance leader Ihaka Nepe, a seasoned performer with 26 years' experience, knows the work it takes to perform with excellence.

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"Chylo and Kauri both come with a diverse learning style and varied pace. Nonetheless their collective goal is to perform with distinction and excellence."

The cadetship programme is in partnership with the Ministry of Social Development where our tauira "learn and earn". Part of their cadetship requirement is to study through Te Wānanga Whare Tapere o Takitimu.

The duo will be the first to enrol in the New Zealand Diploma in Nga Toi specialising in the Māori Performing Arts, a newly accredited programme with NZQA. Takitimu is currently the only tertiary provider offering this qualification at level 6.

Chylo states, "Learning through Te Wananga Whare Tapere o Takitimu has given me a sense of purpose in where I stand in Te Ao Māori. Knowing that I can share the stories, history and whakapapa of our people through Māori song and dance by uplifting their day is a rewarding career and educational pathway."

On completion of their qualification employment pathways will be offered into full-time performing with Kahurangi Maori Dance Company where their journey of Leadership through the Arts will continue.

"Being a professional performing artist through Kahurangi Māori Dance Company is not a clock-in, clock-out job. I've learned that it is a disciplined lifestyle and a way of being," says Kauri.

Te Wananga Whare Tapere o Takitimu is now recruiting for the semester two intake where the inaugural qualification will roll out to all that are passionate about the Māori performing arts.

Academic director Geraldine Cowan said: "What sets this new qualification apart is that it is specifically designed around the performing arts industry and provides a robust platform and career pathway into jobs within the creative industries. Entertainment is one of the oldest professions in the world and we are able to share this through Māori song and dance."

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