New judging system for Secondary Schools' Kapa Haka Competition

By Aroha Treacher

For the first time at the National Secondary Schools Kapa Haka Competition, the Olympic scoring system is being used in an effort to ensure a level playing field when it comes to judging groups.

"You take out the bottom score and the top score and what you're left is the average or whatever is left, that's what they're adding up and it gives the opportunity for fairness, for consistency too," says Whetu Rangihaeata, Deputy Chair of the Kapa Haka Kura Tuarua Society.

The judging system put in place comes after comprehensive feedback received from the motu, including the schools and groups following the last national competition in 2014.

The new format means there will be a fresh set of 14 judges each day over the four-day competition. A new set of judges will be announced to judge the final day.

"It's a fresh lot of eyes every day and you give your best, the judges are 100 per cent focused and onto it and so they judge at the utmost and it allows our tamariki who are performing to know that the judges are fresh, they're giving their best and vice versa," says Rangihaeata.

He says people are under the impression that it's the best judges that will be chosen, but that is not the case, they are chosen based on availability. They will have a variety of different iwi represented as well to ensure continued fairness.

“It is over four days and it is a lot of work for our judges for some to take time off work and for some that can't commit for whatever reasons, so we've had to look at our set of judges for day four which will come out of the judges that are available to stay.

Once the competition is over, feedback from the judges, kura and kapa will be asked for in the form a survey to find out whether the system should stay or go.