Last week I had the honour of accompanying a group of 15 boys and 5 staff to the National Nga Manu Korero Competition held at the Events Centre in Rotorua.We were very fortunate to stay at the Silver Oaks motel which had a heated pool, mini put and two bedroom suites.
On Tuesday 15th of September we travelled up on two vans and arrived just in time for the powhiri at 1pm. This was the second year in a row that Te Arawa had hosted this prestigious event and Maori Party MP Te Ururoa Flavell put up the challenge that if other rohe didn't want to take on the responsibility that it should stay there forever. Luckily, Murihiku put their hands up and next year it will be held in Dunedin.We had dinner out that night at a Chinese restaurant where we ate around two large round tables.
Wednesday, it was crunch time and our two speakers Yohan and Te Utanga were 2nd up on the stage for prepared speeches. While they were getting prepped up with microphones and last minute rehearsals the rest of the crew were busy filming clips with Maori TV. In the end the boys gave it their best shot and the whanau were proud of them. That afternoon we returned back to the event for the impromptu section, where our Head boy Yohan Huria made an impressive statement following the topic 'Participation is whats important - Yeah right!'. Afterwards we went back to the motel to change into mufti then had McDonalds, and returned for the social. (Song of the night - 1814 - Jah Rastafari).
Thursday, the junior speakers took the stage. I managed to watch a few of them before we had fun up on the maunga travelling up the hillside on Gondolas and riding the luges. It was my first time up there and it was treat, especially with the grand view of lake Rotorua and the surrounding landscape. The night brought with it the prizegiving. It is always a spectacle to witness the mass haka tautoko that take place when certain taiohi of particular iwi or rohe are successful and their people salute them. We were proud of our fellow Manawatu/Horowhenua kura, Mana Tamariki's Parekaia Tapiata who came 3rd in the Junior English section.
When it came time for the impromptu section of the Senior English section we were overwhelmed with joy when Yohan took out 1st place. The boys erupted into haka. Hato Paora.... kia mau, kia ita........ Then shortly after he was placed 2nd overall in the Korimako section. All I could think of was wow, this boy deserved it. He was knocking himself all day because he had gone 1 second overtime losing 5points, oh well "e kore a muri e hokia"..... The last suprise came at the end of prizegiving and we were awarded the E tipu e rea taonga for highest English and Maori aggregate score or something or rather. We were very humbled to receive that trophy.
On a high and feeling like winners we celebrated that night with dinner at Breakers. There we had speeches of congratulations and thanks to Te Utanga and Yohan and all the staff and whanau for all their efforts. Friday morning, we headed home. Taihape, we stopped for KFC lunch then arrived back at kura at 2pm where we welcomed with haka powhiri and whakatau. All in all it was great trip. I had fun with the boys and shared with Alexei our German Latitude student all to do with our Maori culture which he experienced first hand and appreciated immensely. Thanks to our Tumuaki Whaea Debi, Koka Irene and Whaea Hera for making it successful trip. Kāti kei raro.