Kelston Girls College and Kelston Boys High School teamed up for their performance.
The booming sound of haka rose from the Due Drop Events Center in Manukau on Monday, the first day of the Māori leg of the ASB Polyfest competition.
More than 14 schools took to the Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi Māori stage on Monday, with 40 schools scheduled to perform during the three-day competition.
For Kelston Girls College leader Amelia Tama (Tūhoe, Whakatōhea), getting on the podium felt great, but she admitted that she also felt happy when it was over.
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“It was cool to look out and see our family or friends and school with us. It just made us feel like we’re not alone.”
One supporter watching was the Manurewa MP, Labour’s Arena Williams (Te Whakatōhea, Tūhoe), who said it was an incredible atmosphere.
“To be back here after Covid with everyone coming together and sharing kai, hongi, each other kihi and mihi…”
There had also been “haka-offs” on the lawn, with students representing their schools, something Williams said could never have happened during the pandemic.
Tana Gabriel (Muriwhenua, Te Aupōuri, Ngāti Kurī), from Kelston Boys High School, said he felt free while performing.
“I love kapa haka, just love te ao Māori. It’s just me, you say ‘te ao Māori’ and I’m right there,” he said.
So is Te Matatini in his future?
“Hard off! I am, of course, prepared to go to Te Matatini. After being with Tāmaki Herenga Waka this year, it was just a very startling experience,
“It felt like I was part of something because that’s what all my people there were.”
On the first day of Auckland Polyfest, the Diversity Stage came alive with performances from high school students from across the city. (First published March 8, 2023.)
The main Polyfest competition took place earlier this year, but the Māori stage was planned for students performing Complexity a rest.
Performances continue tomorrow, starting at 9am with Baradene College, followed by Waitakere College.
Polyfest can also be streamed live herebut viewers need to register.