Haka a ‘very special gift’ for Gore High School

First performance...Former Gore High School pupil Matutaera Coleman- Clarke performs the haka he wrote for the school at a powhiri on Monday. PHOTO:SANDY EGGLESTON

A special taonga has been added to Gore High School’s history treasure trove.

On Monday, a powhiri to welcome a new school haka was held at the school.

The Maruawai haka was written by former pupil Matutaera Coleman-Clarke of Ngati Porou, Te Whakatohea and Te Arawa descent.

Rector John McKinlay said he believed it was a significant day in the school’s history.

“When we write the history of the school, the next 100 years, I’m pretty sure it will [say] this is when the school got its haka.

“It’s a very very special thing for us .. to receive this very special taonga, this very special gift,” Mr McKinlay said.

The school’s history book recorded the day the motto was chosen.

“That motto has lasted all this time and I am certain that is what is going to happen to the haka too.”

The enthusiasm of teachers Ira Deans and Noel Tucker had been instrumental in developing the haka.

“They had meetings with Matu and away we went from there.”

It was very relevant having the haka written by a former pupil.

“I think the words are ours so they’re really pertinent to Gore High School.

“As New Zealanders we all associate with the haka the All Blacks did and do, but this is our own one .. it’s about us.”

The haka was not just for sports teams.

“It’s something we want to be able to do in a unifying way with all 500 kids.”

A group of senior boys would start learning the haka this week and then teach it to others.

During the powhiri, Mr Coleman-Clarke laid the haka, written down on paper, as a koha for Mr McKinlay to pick up.

Before performing the haka for the first time in public, Mr Coleman-Clarke explained its three-part form.

The first part used the word for weave, whiria, which symbolised the pupils coming together in unity.

“Once you become one you are able to tell your story.”

The second part of the haka identified who the pupils were.

“So your story is: Hokonui is your mountain and Mataura is your awa and you guys are Maruawai, Gore High School.”

The third part talked about the school’s values.

Afterwards, Mr Coleman-Clarke said he was very pleased to be asked to write the haka.

“Going through life I’m always about giving back to those who have given to me.

“It was an honour when they asked me to do it,” he said.

It took him about three months to think about the haka and five days to write it.

“It was quite a long process for me.”

The haka is the fourth Mr Coleman-Clarke has written.

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