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Ae Marika: I learned how to cross the road…

Ae Marika
Hone Harawira

I learned how to cross the road…

You know you’re from the far north when a kid tells you the biggest thing they learned from a trip to Wellington is how to cross the road. It’s a reminder that life in the Far North is more pleasant, more relaxed and 160 kilometres from the nearest traffic lights. Heaven.

My thanks to the 36 wharekura, kura Maori, Maori boarding schools and secondary schools for making last week very special for the Maori members of parliament, by sending all their kids down to Wellington for the 2008 National Secondary Schools Kapa Haka Competitions.

From Arowhenua (Invercargill) in the south to Aniwaniwa (Kaitaia) in the north, more than 1500 dynamic, talented, explosive performers took to the stage, strutting their stuff and showing off how good they were at poi, haka, waiata, mau taiaha and whaikorero.

And the kids gave it all. They lit up the hall with their confidence, they were radical, they were funny, they were sad, and they were stunning. And they were just the same off-stage as well – bright-eyed, happy, boisterous, cheeky, positive and quick to support other groups on stage.

My thanks to all those rangatahi for the energy they gave, and to all those seriously stressed out teachers and parents trying to keep tabs on 1500 sets of rampaging hormones.

Then on Saturday afternoon, after rushing back from Monte Ohia’s kawe mate down in Tauranga, I managed to catch the last two groups at the 2008 Tai Tokerau Regional Schools Kapahaka Competitions in Whangarei.

Same energy, same passion, heaps of support from whanau from all over the north and bright-eyed kids giving their all for their kura, their whanau, their hapu, their iwi and their communities.

In this life we all have to cross many roads, but after travelling the world, I am happy to say that if you have to start anywhere, there ain’t anywhere as nice, as right here at home.


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