Aorangi Primary School will be first-up on Tuesday's stage at this year's Rotorua Primary School Maori Festival (Te Ahurei o Nga Kura 2017).

But instead of being daunted by the fact, they see it as a good thing.

The school's kapa haka kaiako (teacher) Te Aroha Bidois said it allowed students to get their performance "over and done with" so they could then watch other haka groups.

"We're used to performing first so it's not a big deal," Bidois said.


The week-long festival, which gets under way on Monday at the Harvest Centre, has been on the Rotorua calendar for more than four decades and last year about 30 schools took to the stage. When it initially started, four schools were involved.

"I'm not too sure how long Aorangi has been taking part but I've been at the school nine years and we haven't missed one in that time."

Bidois said the pupils put in lots of hours and energy in preparation for their performance.

"It's something they look forward to every year."

She said the school encouraged juniors to be part of kapa haka so they could learn alongside the Year 6 students who were representing the school for the last time.

"All students get a lot out of being part of the group, it's good for their knowledge and for their confidence. But I think the highlight for them, is looking out into the crowd and seeing their parents and whanau members out there.

"It's a big thing."

About 300 people are expected at each session of the festival with about 600 to 900 expected at night.