We talked to Joseph Stafford, one of the parent supervisors of the Newton Central School kapa haka group about how he’s seen the tamariki benefit from learning kapa haka and te Reo Māori.

How long has the kapa haka group been running? Ten years.

How many members does it have? It can vary from 12 to 93.

The kapa haka group members are also students in Te Uru Karaka, the immersion unit at Newton Central. What do the kids get out of being in the group? What changes do you see in them after they join? Kapa haka is one of our major conduits for learning language, culture, customs, history, discipline, conduct and social behaviour. We see powerful growth in confidence, leadership, followership, cooperation, articulation, music, choreography, dance and story-telling. Like a flock of birds, everyone is important and no one gets left behind.

What will the group be performing in Takutai Square on Friday? An Entry, a number of action songs, chorale items, traditional chants, a poi, a haka, and Exit.

This is Te Wiki o te Reo Māori – what role does kapa haka play in introducing the tamariki to the Māori language? Kapa haka is not an entertainment vehicle only, it is a doorway to exposing our children to authentic Māori occasions and events that promote, elevate and normalise te Reo Māori. All of our children are bi-lingual, bi-literate, and bi-cultural.


The Newton Central School kapa haka group will perform in Takutai Square at 1pm on Thursday 18th October.