Topic: Te Reo Māori

East Coast cultures unite through haka

By Te Kuru o te Marama Dewes
  • North Island: East Coast

Mainstream schools in Gisborne are embracing Māori language and culture at the Tūranga Māori Cultural Festival, culminating with a mass waiata and haka by over 80 groups.  

The most important thing is for them to get an idea about our culture, whether they're Pākehā, Māori or other.

With 51 early childhood centres and Kōhanga Reo involved this year, the event continues to grow.

Watching her two children, proud mother Charlene Donald says, “It is about keeping the language alive and you can see that coming through in the song and they identify with it and they really embrace it they really embrace it and they love it.”

Thirty schools from primary and intermediate including mainstream and Kura Kaupapa Māori took to the stage.

“For the mainstream schools, kapa haka is a way to get them to warm to us", says Ngarimu.

Charlene Donald says, “So we have our little fella practising in the shower, in the car singing, it's just wonderful bonding for the children at school.”

A haka legend of the East Coast, Taina Ngarimu says the event provides a cultural foundation for the children.

“Although they may not have any talent, for some of them this is the beginning of their journey upward to Te Matatini.”