Education Minister Hekia Parata has announced today that a Year 8 student who composed and sung his own song has won the Supreme Award for a school competition honouring the 28th Māori Battalion.
Korakotaiwaha Kawana is one of two Supreme Award winners of the Ngārimu VC and 28th Māori Battalion Memorial Scholarship Fund Board Challenge.
Hekia Parata says, “The challenge asks students to prepare a creative commemoration of the role that Māori played in the World Wars using 21st century tools.
Korakotaiwaha rose to that challenge with an outstanding original waiata which reflected the bravery and sacrifice of the 28th (Māori) Battalion. His lyrics wove together the right and privilege of Māori to participate in battle and were beautifully sung.”
The high calibre of this year's entries meant that there were two winners of the prestigious award, worth $1500 each.
Rereao Tait, a Year 12 student also won the Supreme Award for her artwork which focuses on Gallipoli and commanded attention through its exceptional use of colour, imagery, symbolism and lighting.
Out of 30 applications received, nine entries were awarded prizes.
Here is a clip of Korakotaiwaha, performing alongside whānau: