An Auckland boys haka group is backing the new changes to the National Secondary School competition rules.
Kings College haka group tutor, Lincoln Savage says that having the newly introduced Mau Rākau item judged for te Reo Māori suits them, but he empathises for other same sex groups who won't be marked for poi.
Kings College's all boys haka group has only been competing for five years. Since they began, mau rākau has been the item performed in their bracket, "For us the changes are ideal. We don't do the poi. Within the regional competition we peform the mau rākau,” said Mr Savage.
Last week the National Secondary School Kapahaka Council announced that the poi item performed by same-sex boy groups would not be marked. Instead the item will be replaced by the mau rākau.
"Last week they heard about the changes and the all concerns. We understand the dilemma of schools such as Hāto Pāora. They perform the poi. That's their specialty, and they're tutored by exponents of the poi. So we feel their pain. They've done the poi for years," said Mr Savage.
He believes this a time of sensitivity, “I've told the group to remain silent on the issue. Don't belittle anyone. Be considerate of those who may be unhappy with the changes."
He hopes that groups will get the opportunity to choose either option, without being disadvantaged.