A thousand students from 16 Kāpiti schools performed to a packed audience at the Takiri o te Ata Kapa Haka Festival, hosted by Raumati Beach School at Kāpiti College on Friday.

In its 25th year the festival involves students from around Kāpiti in a celebration of whanaungatanga, bringing together everyone young and old, including many kaumātua from the district's three iwi, Ngāti Toa, Ngāti Raukawa, Te Āti Awa.

With a different school hosting it each year this is the first time Raumati Beach School has hosted.

"This is our first time doing it so it's been a big effort from everyone," Raumati Beach School Te Ao Māori coordinator Paul Gilbert said.


Ever since last year's festival Paul, Shellee May and their team have been organising the festival.

Maika Pewhairangi leading Raumati Beach School in waiata. Photo / Rosalie Willis
Maika Pewhairangi leading Raumati Beach School in waiata. Photo / Rosalie Willis

"There hasn't been anything written down as protocol when running the event, it sounds like year to year schools have been making it up so we've tried to make some deep footprints hopefully footprints that other schools can follow in future."

The hard work has not only been put in by the organising team but by the students who have been working hard all year to create their 12 minute performances.

For the host school Paul said, "It is a lot of work, at least two hours a week during most of the school year and this term it's been almost every second day".

The festival is a chance for the schools to come together and celebrate New Zealand culture with some of the schools performing waiata and haka written especially for the school.