Polyfest practice pays off for pupils

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Celebration... Kapa haka group members (from left) Naeve Barnett (10), Chelsey Beattie (10), Tara Ruri (10) and Narisha Honeyman (11) put on a show. PHOTO: FIONA ELLIS

Gore Main School’s kapa haka group took to the stage for a day of firsts at the Calvin Community Church on Friday.

Principal Glenn Puna said the event was the school’s contribution to the this year’s Murihiku Polyfest.

“It’s the first time we’ve ever had a kapa haka group, and first time we’ve ever been in Polyfest,” Mr Puna said.

The 55 pupils performed a collection of waiata, Samoan dance, Cook Island dance and haka.

Mr Puna also took to the stage with a few dance moves, as did some of the pupil’s relatives.

“That was quite funny was a highlight.”

The group, headed by teacher Lauren Wallis, put in a lot of work to become stage-ready.

After forming last year, the group practised for 18 months.

“At the start it was 40 minutes a week.

“Towards the end of last term we were going every day to get it to a nice polished performance.”

The performance went well, he said.

“We had the lighting, the beautiful auditorium, the sound …new uniforms.

“It was a bit of a show.

“[The pupils] were all excited and happy and enthusiastic about it.”

The pupils had intended to perform in Invercargill, but the Covid-19 pandemic meant Polyfest was held online this year instead.

The performance was recorded.

“Every school that wanted to had to send in a video.

“On the second and third of November the videos that get sent in will be posted on the Miharo Facebook page.”

He had watched the video five times already, and felt proud of what his pupils had achieved.

“It’s a celebration of culture.

“This will become a yearly thing for us.

“Hopefully next year .. we can travel into Invercargill and go up on stage.”