Committee defends kapa haka rule change

By Heeni Brown
  • North Island: East Coast

Kapa Haka Kura Tuarua Society Incorporation has come under fire over rules surrounding the use of poi by male groups. Kapa Haka Kura Tuarua Society's Willie Te Aho spoke exclusively to Te Kāea about the matter.

The national committee responsible for the largest secondary haka competition says it followed all the processes in its constitution when it changed the rules around boys performing poi. This means  that  single sex schools like Hāto Paora will no longer receive points if they choose to perform a poi bracket.

“The committee notified the regions in September of the proposed change. On Saturday, it was debated and at the end of the day, the rule was set in stone and will apply to the upcoming national competition,” says Willie Te Aho.

There are 14 delegates who represent regions as far north as Te Tai Tokerau and as far south as Ōtākou-Murihiku.

This week, they released their new rules for the national competition in 2016.

“Under the new rules, single sex male groups are to be marked on te reo Māori, whakaeke, mōteatea, waiata ā-ringa, haka, whakawātea and newly introduced item mau rākau, which has replaced the poi item. If the group wants to do their own thing and still wants to include the poi, perhaps in protest, they can do that, but it won't marked or judged,” says Te Aho.

Te Aho states if people want the rule changed, it will have to wait until after the completion of the competition. From there, it will have to be brought back to the table as a proposal and then given back out to the regions to be decided on. He also says it would only take eight out of 14 regions to change the rule.

We contacted Hāto Paora Board of Trustees Chair Peter Douglas who gave this statement:

  • It's the first we heard of the matter this week when the rules were released.
  • We're hoping to get information from the Committee (Kapa Haka Kura Tuarua Society) as to why they made those changes and what process they followed
  • In particular what measures they took in regard to those who are directly affected.

There are five months left until the national competition begins.