Kapa Haka

Kapa Haka

Ko te kupu nei te “Kapa Haka” he tirohanga whānui ki ngā mahi toi Māori, ārā ngā mahi haka, waiata ā ringa, te tū pakari, te kori tinana, te pūkana, te whakakotahitanga o te katoa.

The term ‘kapa haka’ refers to a broad range of Māori performing arts combining stance, posture, movement and expression to form a single whole.

Kapa Haka (including waiata tira, waiata a ringa, poi and haka) is an integral part of Westland High School. Westland High Schools Kapa Haka group is very successful and has won many awards and accolades over the years including:

  • Te Ahurei O Te Tai O Poutini Senior Overall Winner in 2012 & 2016
  • Te Ahurei O Te Tai O Poutini Senior Whakaeke Award Winner in 2016

Kapa Haka gives students the opportunity to learn Maori culture by participation and performance, develop a sense of one’s own individuality and provide a sense of unity and belonging as part of a larger group or whole.  

Senior students play a key role in Westland High Schools Kapa Haka, showing what they, as young leaders, can achieve by way of doing. They become the mentors to our juniors and show healthy pathways that they to can follow and aspire to.

For further enquiries please contact Matua Bussy: matuabussy@westlandhigh.school.nz

Student Story – The West Coast Kapa Haka Festival

We arrived at the venue (the NBS Theatre in Westport) where schools from all over the West Coast had assembled in order to compete in the West Coast Kapa Haka Festival.

It was difficult to predict the level of competition we could expect from our opponents so I decided it was best to clear my head and focus on what I had to do later that day.

When our time arrived and we waited to walk on to the stage, I had a mixture of emotions coursing through me, but most of all I felt proud. I felt proud to be Māori and grateful I had the opportunity to stand with an exceptional team.

I stood anxiously waiting to perform our first item. I hear the crowd erupt into a loud applause. Suddenly I begin to feel calm and controlled. I started to sing and everything felt so natural and normal as if we are in the whare at Westland High School practising.

Then it was time to deliver the whaikōrero. I was nervous as I didn’t know what the crowd’s response would be. This was my first time speaking in front of a large audience. Once I had finished I felt relieved, like the weight of the world had been lifted off my shoulders.

We completed our performance and everyone was ecstatic. At that exact moment I could not have felt any better.

The prizegiving came and we waited and watched other groups from the junior and intermediate sections of the competition receiving their awards. The audience cheered and celebrated.

Finally the senior / secondary schools section is announced. Westland High School’s name is called. The room goes wild as we end up winning all six disciplines including the aggregate overall winner of the senior section.

For me, kapa haka is not just about the twenty minutes on stage. It’s about the learning, discipline required, tikanga, te reo, being together (kotahitanga), and setting goals and striving hard to perform at the highest level possible.

Performing at the West Coast Kapa Haka Festival made me feel proud and that helped my confidence. I thought “wow, maybe I can do it” and “I don’t need to be so nervous”.

These are the things that make me think it’s really cool to be Māori.

Tamati Frost