10 Nov 2019

Te Kura o Te Pāroa win Te Mana Kuratahi national haka competition

3:25 pm on 10 November 2019

Whakatāne primary school Te Kura o te Pāroa has taken out the top spot at the National Primary Schools Kapa Haka competition.

Whakatāne primary school Te Kura o te Pāroa wins National Primary Schools Kapa Haka competition 2019

Te Kura o te Pāroa students perform Photo: Screengrab / Māori TV

Hundreds of tamariki from 62 schools converged in Hamilton for Te Mana Kuratahi.

The five-day event last week showcased the country's top rangatahi performers from 17 regions across the country.

One of the tutors for Te Kura o te Pāroa, Inia Mark, said they never expected to win, but just went out and gave it their all.

"We got off the stage and we were all excited that with all that hard work we actually made it to the stage to do our performance, and the rest was up to our judges, but I know inside we were happy with our performance anyway, whether we were placed first or last.

"We never ever thought about winning, and what we drummed into our kids was 'hard work pays off'."

He said the tamariki were happy but tired, and were looking forward to getting back home to Whakatāne.

He wasn't sure whether the kura had won the national competitions before, but it was a first time for him as a tutor, and he paid tribute to the other tutors, Ripeka, Taya, Mātua Raymond and Whaiora, and guitarists and former students of Te Kura o te Pāroa, Nikora and Ranapea.

"Just their presence was enough to help lift our kids throughout this campaign," Mr Mark said.

He said the most memorable performance was the whakaeke, or entrance song, where they performed the mōteatea, Ka mahi, ka mahi.

"[It was based off] the march of Ngāti Awa, and the sacrifice that Ngāti Awa had laid for our Tūhoe neighbours, or Tūhoe whanaunga to carry on through to Orākou, so that was the whole march on kaupapa, coming over to Tainui, to hono tahi, to bind with Tainui with all the kaupapa that was going around with the raupātu."

Te Whānau o te Maro Hauhake from Tauranga Moana came in second, while Te Wharekura o Ruatoki was third.

All three of the top placing teams descend from the Mātaatua waka.