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Ae Marika: Floods, Kapa Haka

Ae Marika Column - Hone Harawira - Northern Advocate - Friday 18 April 2008


I went along to the flood meeting in Kawakawa last week. Very good meeting. Big crowd.

Kawakawa is on State Highway One and most of the traffic going north or south, goes through there, so naturally when Kawakawa floods, the whole of the north is affected.

So I was hugely surprised to learn that of the 26 ‘flood-priority’ areas that the Northland Regional Council is working on, Kawakawa is way down at number 20! Now, I ain’t no rocket scientist but it seems to me that when flooding in Kawakawa can have such an adverse effect on the whole of the north, the priority level would be a lot higher.

Both John Carter MP and I have written recently to the NRC to get a meeting with them and other Northland MPs to see what it is we can all do to help overcome the annual flooding which affects the north.

It’s a big job, no question, but we got to get something done and quick, and I’m as keen as anyone to lend my weight to a plan that’ll get things done.

Last Saturday, me and my mokopuna came up from Auckland to watch the senior kapahaka comps in Whangarei, and then on Wednesday I got the day off from Parliament to come up to watch the Tai Tokerau Secondary Schools Kapahaka Festival held at Okaihau College.

There’s a new group at senior level, Puu Ao, and they were awesome. Very powerful, very fresh and very clear. The other groups were great as well, particularly Hatea and Ngati Hine, but Puu Ao looked a class above. Can’t wait til Chris Henare and Sandra Waitai get round to starting a kapahaka group in Kaitaia now, because every time you go, you feel the energy and the good vibrations that you always get from these kind of events.

I got up at 5.30 in Wellington so I could spend the whole of Wednesday at the secondary school festival, but they cancelled the flight to Kerikeri so I had to grab a rental and boot it back from Auckland, and only managed to catch the last four of the 22 secondaries that took the stage.

Again, an awesome feeling. The kids were powerful and there were thousands of people there to see them strut their stuff. You feel the energy in the air when the kids take the stage, you see the different styles, the sweetness of song, the sway of the poi and the power of the haka. Great stuff. May it go on forever.


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