A new Māori performing arts course being offered in Whakatāne is set to make a difference in the lives of the city's youth, says an experienced tutor.

Tutor Elsie Rakuraku helped start the Te Wānanga o Aotearoa Rotorua campus in 1993, where the first Māori performing arts course was offered at the institution.

She is now starting the Toi Maruata Level 3 course next month in Whakatāne.

The course will involve students developing an arts project or production, involving Māori arts such as kapa haka, drama and dance.

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The course is fees-free and will involve a marae stay a month for five months, plus a once a week face-to-face class in Whakatāne.

Rakuraku has a strong background in kapa haka, which she says keeps her excited about passing on knowledge to rangatahi.

"I have a passion for kapa haka and what it brings to our young people, as they get a bit passionate too."

The Level 3 course will be a potential bridging course for students wanting to do higher level Māori performing arts courses at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa, said Rakuraku

People interested in the course can visit the Te Wānanga o Aotearoa website.

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