Get out your poi, boys

11:49 am on 1 March 2016

A rule banning boys-only schools from doing the poi in the National Secondary School Kapa Haka competition has been revoked.

Hato Paora College students perform using poi in July 2013.

Hato Paora College students perform using poi in July 2013. Photo: YouTube / Les354

Some affected schools were dismayed after an announcement by the competition's organising committee last month that they had to use taiaha instead of the poi.

The announcement by Kapa Haka Kura Tuarua Society Incorporated had come just five months out from the secondary school nationals in Hawke's Bay in July.

The schools in the competition were told they needed to substitute the poi - a once compulsory component for the national competition - with mau rakau, a Maori martial art that includes the taiaha, patu and mere.

Hato Paora College reacted by saying the rule was sexist, and Hastings Boys' High School said it was unfair to change the rules so close to the competition.

At the time, Willie Te Aho, on behalf of the organising committee, said the decision would be reviewed if a majority of the 14 rohe (regions) that had voted in favour of the change wanted it reconsidered.

The committee said it had now gone back to the people and a decision was made to allow the poi as well as mau rakau to be marked.