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Wairarapa Secondary Schools to Celebrate Pasifika Week

26 May 2014

Wairarapa Schools to Celebrate Pasifika

Kuranui College to host 2014 Wairarapa Secondary Schools’ Pasifika Week

The Wairarapa Secondary Schools’ Pasifika Week is a regional community event that celebrates the cultural diversity of New Zealand. Running from 16-22 June, the week provides an opportunity for young people to learn and experience all things Polynesian through a series of workshops focused on dance, art, drama, music and pacific food.

Kuranui College dance teacher Sharyne Lewis started Pasifika Week at the South Wairarapa college last year. Passionate about getting local youth involved in the arts and learning about cultural diversity, Sharyne has gained local support this year from Wairarapa Reap, South Wairarapa Rotary and Fresh Choice Greytown, and has expanded the event to include a number of other Wairarapa schools.

Polynesian Entertainers Ltd is a significant partner and will be providing a series of workshops to students that cover Samoan Drumming, Sasa, Fire Dancing and Siva, and Tahitian Dance. Hawaiian tutor Kumu Hula Aulii Mitchell, who is visiting from Hawaii, will teach Hawaiian Dance, Lei Making, Bamboo Printing and hold a talk on Hawaiian Archaeology.

“This year’s Pasifika Week has opened up into a regional integrated-learning programme for all secondary schools in the Wairarapa. This gives the region’s students an opportunity to participate in Pacific workshops,” explained Sharyne.

“It provides our young people with the chance to acknowledge the cultural diversity of our families living here in the Wairarapa, to gain a greater appreciation of the Pacific by exploring and learning about wider Pacific communities, people and cultures in a socio-cultural context and to celebrate students’ Pacific roots.”

The week will include performances at the Wairarapa Secondary Schools Pasifika Evening, to be held on 19 June at the Kuranui College Auditorium, which will feature dance pieces from the students involved in the workshops, as well as art, drama, music and food from the week. Tickets available from

The evening will also showcase a number of celebrated Pasifika performers including Te Amo Polynesian Entertainers dancers, the Ura Tabu Pacific Dance Company, Thomas Natoealofa and Kumu Aulii Mitchell.

“Kuranui College dance students are studying Ura Tabu’s Spiritus Aitu as part of their dance repertoire this year, so this is a unique opportunity for the students to see this performance live. The dance piece was recently premiered at the Pasifika Festival at Auckland’s Performing Arts Centre (TAPAC) and will appear at the Teulia Festival in Samoa and tour across New Zealand.

“The Pasifika performance evening will be a highlight of the week. It is where the students get to present what they have learnt and perform alongside professional dance companies and artists,” said Sharyne.

There is an opportunity for the general public to take part in the week by enrolling in two Samoan Siva workshops tutored by Charlene Tedrow on 17 and 18 June: a beginners class covering basic Samoan dance movements and a more advanced class teaching Taupou Siva Samoa. Maile Giffin will also hold a Tahitian dance workshop on 21 June in Masterton (venue to be confirmed).

“We hope the students will enjoy a fun, colourful celebration,” added Sharyne.


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