A Rotorua school's kapa haka team was overwhelmed and proud of its results at its first kapa haka competition.

St Michael's Catholic School's kapa haka group competed in the Nga Kapahaka o Te Pīhopatanga competition in Whakatāne recently.

This was their first time entered into a kapa haka competition, and they were proud to come away with a second placing and four third placings.

These included second for waiata - choral, third for male leader, third equal for uniform, third equal for te reo, and third equal for poi.

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This was an interschool Catholic kapa haka competition hosted by St Josephs School, Whakatāne.

St Michael's Catholic School kapa haka tutor Marama Hill says the pupils were overwhelmed when they found out the results.

She says the group had not been going into the competition expecting anything, and were so proud of themselves.

"We are so proud and honoured to be the tutors of this group, we've had such an amazing group of kids.

"We got through all the little rough patches and it was an amazing journey to be part of with them.

"I think was awesome to give them this opportunity to perform at a different level but also in a safe space."

St Michael's Catholic School's kapa haka group in the Nga Kapahaka o Te Pihopatanga competition in Whakatane. Photo / Andrew Warner
St Michael's Catholic School's kapa haka group in the Nga Kapahaka o Te Pihopatanga competition in Whakatane. Photo / Andrew Warner

Marama says maybe a quarter of their school's kapa haka group is Māori, and that it is amazing to see people having the passion and drive to do something that is New Zealand tradition.

Tutor Wiki Hall thinks the whole experience was a real eye-opener for the children.

He says staying in a marae before and at the competition was a new experience for many of the children.

"It's an experience for other cultures too."

The group is looking to perform again for their school, and for friends and family who could not travel over to watch the competition, he says.

Marama and Wiki say thank you for the support their principal and the school gave the team, as well as a huge thank you to their creative team.

"A lot of our teachers and parent helpers were a huge part of the journey.

"If we didn't have their support, as tutors especially, it wouldn't have been as an enjoyable experience for the whole group."

St Michael's Catholic School's kapa haka group at the Nga Kapahaka o Te Pihopatanga competition in Whakatane. Photo / Andrew Warner
St Michael's Catholic School's kapa haka group at the Nga Kapahaka o Te Pihopatanga competition in Whakatane. Photo / Andrew Warner

They say they also had a lot of support and sponsorship from businesses, which enabled the team to go over and compete - GHA – Chartered Accountants and Management Consultants, Wood Marketing Services, APL Property Rotorua, ANZ Rotorua, and Craigs Investment Partners Rotorua.

"We were lucky to have some community response, otherwise we wouldn't be able to offer this experience to our children."

Pupil Jade Warner says her favourite part of the kapa haka competition was performing.

The 9-year-old says the whole group worked well together and supported each other.

''I am very grateful for having the opportunity to perform with my friends. I thought our choreography was really good.''