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Student Profiles

Kani Collier
Te Aitanga-a-Māhaki, Te Whānau-a-Apanui, Tainui, Te Atihaunui-a-Pāpārangi

Ngā Mana Whakairo A Toi, Bachelor of Māori Performing Arts

Background Summary:

I was brought up through the kapa haka ranks of Te Waka Huia and Waihirere, groups my parents performed with, so I’ve been surrounded by kapa haka my whole life. To study for the Bachelor of Māori Performing Arts – a degree that combines the things I love most in the world – is an unbelievable opportunity. The course covers all aspects of Māori performing arts, both traditional and contemporary.

One of the most exciting components is haka theatre: a new concept that combines haka, dance, waiata and theatre. It’s powerful – an extension of traditional kapa haka that opens the door to a whole new area of expression and feeling – it’s a whole new journey.

Studying for this tohu has helped me develop a lot of new skills. Over the past two years, I’ve gained knowledge around tikanga, I’ve developed teaching and coaching skills – I teach an hour-long class called Haka Fit, which combines fitness with kapa haka movement, and I work as a personal and group fitness trainer – and many opportunities in performing arts have opened up.

At the end of my first year, I took a lead role in the haka theatre production Released, and developed an interest in acting. That led to a role in the New Zealand feature film The Dead Lands, which comes out in October, and along with some of my fellow students I auditioned for and won a place in the Māori Television show The Kapa.

This degree programme has also strengthened my academic skills – reading, writing, research. It’s lifted my confidence not just in myself as a performer, but in what I can achieve academically.