After 16 years without having traditional attire, the members of Gore High School’s kapa haka group are uncertain when they will be able to showcase their new uniform.

The group was due to perform at the Miharo Murihiku Polyfest early next month.

However, Miharo made an announcement which confirmed the cancellation of the event last week.

Group member Nikolasi Feheko (16) said he felt sad about the news.

“Before lockdown hit I was actually excited to go to Polyfest.”

He shifted from Te Awamutu two years ago and Polyfest in the North Island was a big deal, he said.

“I was hoping we could bring the same energy here.”

He was “stoked” about the new uniform.

“I like that it has the Gore High School colours in there .. so it looks mean.”

It was fun to be a part of the group, he said.

“It is a great way to share our New Zealand culture with everyone.”

Deputy principal Mel Hamilton said art teacher Sarah Geary made the designs for the uniforms.

“We wanted our designs to show who we are and our tangata whenua.”

Some of the featured designs showed symbols of the school’s values of courtesy, effort and responsibility.

“We’ve also weaved the local Maori history with the Hokonui hills and the river because it is a big part of our lives.

“We have incorporated the Nga Hau e Wha [four winds] because a lot of our kids come from other iwis so we wanted to reflect the local tangata whenua and include other places the kids come from.”

The uniform was blessed by Hokonui Runanga member Matu Coleman-Clarke before lockdown.

“Families came along and we had 45 of the kids and 10 staff members and parents a special time.”

However, she was uncertain when the pupils would be able to perform in their uniforms.

“[Alert] Level 2 does not allow us to perform because we have 45 kids in the kapa haka group.

“Polyfest was cancelled but they have said we can upload videos of performances but we are not sure whether we will do that.”