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All together . . . About 480 pupils performed the haka together at the end of the competition.

Gore High School’s four houses squared off against each other in a haka competition on Friday.

They performed the Maruawai haka which was written by former pupil Matutaera Coleman-Clarke especially for the school last year.

Deputy principal Melanie Hamilton said it was a significant milestone for the school.

“It’s a pretty awesome day in the life of Gore High,” Mrs Hamilton said.

The school planned to make the competition a yearly event.

Next year there might also be a waiata, she said.

Teachers as well as pupils competed in their houses.

“Lots of teachers found it was good to be in a space where we were the learners.”

After the houses had competed, the approximately 480 pupils performed their haka in unison.

“I’m so proud of all the school.

”It’s important to recognise our bi-cultural heritage.”

The event was important in creating a “sense of oneness” within the school, she said.

Mr Coleman-Clarke was a guest judge of the competition alongside te reo teacher Ira Deans, former pupil Xanthe Gutschlag and kapa haka teacher Vanessa Whangapiripa.

The school had captured the essence of the haka, Mr Coleman-Clarke said to the pupils.

“You’ve taken it as your own, not just something that’s been given to you. ”

The hair on his neck had risen watching them perform.

“Ka pai. Big ups to you.”

He was looking forward to next year’s performance.

A trophy for the winning house was handmade by technology teacher Ian Connorton.

Shaped like a fishhook, it incorporated the four house colours.

It was awarded to Cargill house.