A week of primary schools kapa haka based around a Hawke's Bay festival which blazed the trail for children's Maori cultural performances has ended with three groups being named to represent Ngati Kahungunu at the national primary schools festival in Nelson next year.
The regional championship was held at Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Ngati Kahungunu ki Heretaunga, in Stock Rd, Bridge Pa, on Friday, following the four days of the Ngati Kahungunu's Primary Schools Kapa Haka Festival, which was established 45 years ago as the Primary Schools Maori Cultural Festival.
The host school provided the winning crew in Friday's kapa haka, the runner-up was Hastings school Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Te Wananga Whare Tapere o Takitimu, and third Napier School Te Kura Kaupapa Maori Maori o Te Ara Hou.
The preceding four-day festival, involving mnore than 600 chldren, started last Monday with 34 groups from 24 Hawke's Bay schools, and as well as the regionals on Friday was followed by a Marae kapa haka on Saturday, and kohanga reo kappa haka on Monday(November 23).
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National primary schools kapa haka festival Te Mana Kuratahi will be held next year in Nelson, where the secondary schools championships will be held in 2022, a prelude to major festival Te Matatini in 2025.
The Hawke's Bay Festival, which has at times featured groups from throughout the Kahungunu rohe, and occasionally including other Polynesian performances, was the passion of late career educationalists Ted and Awhina Waaka, who each received New Zealand Honours recognition for services to Maori, education and community.