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New performing arts class for 2024

A new, more accessible Māori and Pasifika performing arts class is coming to UCOL Te Pūkenga Wairarapa in 2024, and enrolments are open now.

The level three programme will run part-time, one night a week and introduce ākonga [learners] to traditional and contemporary Māori and Pasifika performing arts.

UCOL’s Wairarapa campus has already run a diploma in Performing Arts [Māori and Pasifika] that spanned over two years, but campus director Carrie McKenzie understands that not everybody can commit to two years.

“That’s why we’ve introduced the Level 3 option, to provide performing arts on our campus on a part-time basis,” McKenzie said.

The course offers a range of foundational knowledge that can be applied to a range of industries and can also act as a pathway to other UCOL courses, McKenzie said.

Centred around building confidence, the course would also be an experience suited to those who wanted to work within the tourism industry and those in government roles, she said.

The course will be run at Te Whare Amorangi, the marae on UCOL’s Wairarapa campus.

“For non-Māori, it’s important to have a good understanding of Tikanga and te ao Māori while living in Aotearoa. For people of Māori, Cook Island and Samoan descent, it can help them to find a connection with their own identity, learning where they’ve come from and expressing it through movement,” McKenzie said.

Another aspect of its accessibility is that it is open to ākonga who couldn’t finish high school but still wanted to do a degree or diploma.

“As long as they have NCEA Level 1, they are welcome to join,” McKenzie said.

Two kaiako [teachers] will teach the programme – Shari Taylor-Kawana and Kiri Riwai-Couch – both of whom also taught the level six programme.

The course will be great for older people, parents, and their teenage kids – anyone who wanted to take part in kapa haka but never had the opportunity, Riwai-Couch said.

The level 6 ākonga recently travelled to Ōtautahi for TheatreFest and won second place for their performance of an original piece titled ‘Say My Name’.

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