The kapa haka group made up of Rotorua Boys' and Girls' High students has taken out top honours at the secondary schools competition for the second time in a row.

Raukura won the top prize at the National Secondary Schools Kapa Haka Competition, Ngā Kapa Haka Kura Tuarua o Aotearoa 2018, which was held in Palmerston North from Tuesday to today.

Raukura was the only Rotorua group to make it to the finals today.

Jamus Webster, who tutored the group alongside Laurelle Tamati, said he hoped the win could bring some positivity following recent deaths in the school communities.

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Former Girls' High teacher Talei Morrison died in June while former Boys' High teacher Hori Kaiwai died in March.

"We took their spirits on stage with us, their wairua. We will add positivity for all those under the cloud of grief," he said.

Webster said they were happy but surprised to have been in the finals.

"We thought a lot of our other Te Arawa representatives, their performances were just as great," Webster said.

Raukura dedicated their performance to lost lives, like that of Hori Kaiwai (pictured in frame). Photo / Supplied
Raukura dedicated their performance to lost lives, like that of Hori Kaiwai (pictured in frame). Photo / Supplied

He said the group's final performance was done for all the Te Arawa groups in the competition.

"We took our fellow groups on stage with us."

Webster said, as defending champions, the pressure was on.

"We have to ensure we do better than the last performance ... It's hard to gauge where to go when there's no one above you. You have to try set the standards.

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"[The families] have sacrificed a lot of time and money and we wanted to make sure it was worth their while and I can confidently say it was."

Actor Temuera Morrison was among those enjoying the kapa haka.

"Raukura were just fantastic, it was a slick and emotional performance.

"There have been a lot of tributes to my niece Talei, which have been quite emotional as well," Morrison said.

A total of 41 teams performed across the festival. There were three pools in the competition and the finals took place today.

Students from several Rotorua schools performed including from Te Wharekura o Ngāti Rongomai, Western Heights High School and Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Ruamata.