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Te Teko kapa haka champs honour composers

05 December 2017

From left to right: Haturini McGarvey, Reremoana Pitau, Tyler Pitau

The newly crowned champions of the national primary school kapa haka competition have honoured two Awanuiārangi staff members and a student for their contributions to the win.

Te Kura o Te Teko outshone 56 other primary schools to win Te Mana Kuratahi, the national championships in Tūranga Nui A Kiwa (Gisborne) in early November.

Awanuiārangi te reo kaiako Haturini McGarvey composed the group’s winning haka, while cultural advisor Reremoana Pitau and his son, Awanuiārangi student Tyler Pitau, composed the waiata-ā-ringa. The titonga hou (new compositions) were composed especially for the 2017 championships.

Called to the school for a celebration of the kapa haka achievement, the three were shocked to find themselves the focus of attention at a surprise ceremony attended by the whole school.

“When we entered the hall, the winning kapa were on stage, there was a mihi to us and karakia, and the kapa performed the winning items,” Mr McGarvey said. “Then we were given the great honour of being gifted the taonga for the haka and the waiata-ā-ringa to look after for two years. We were completely shocked and very humbled and proud to receive such an acknowledgement and to be entrusted with these taonga.”

Mr McGarvey, who has composed for Te Kura o Te Teko in the past, said the school was passionate about the art of kapa haka and teaching it to students.

“Kapa haka is such a positive vehicle for promoting culture and language, te reo me ona tikanga. To my knowledge, no Ngāti Awa primary school team has ever before won a national kapa haka competition, and their achievement is very special not only for Te Kura o Te Teko but also for the community, all the associated marae and Ngāti Awa. It was a very proud moment.”

The winning haka reaffirmed the whakapapa connections between Ngāti Awa tīpuna and the iwi of Te Tai Rāwhiti. The waiata-ā-ringa was a tribute to Te Teko koroua Meta Hona, who passed away earlier this year. Many of his mokopuna are members of the kapa haka.