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New kapa haka group shines

By Emily Norman

[email protected]

Splashes of pink and black brought a unique element to a kapa haka performance in Carterton yesterday.

It was the first ever performance of Wairarapa’s IDEA Services kapa haka group.

Around 20 adults with intellectual disabilities banded together in full force at the Carterton RSA where family and friends packed out the hall.

Excited voices whispered, “I can see them”, as the performers lined up behind the curtain.

“Quiet please,” one lady called down the line to her friends.

The group emerged from behind the curtain, donning pink and black costumes they had made themselves – the colours of IDEA Services.

IDEA services kapa haka performer Ameria Wallace (left) and Tama Paewai from Wairarapa REAP. PHOTO/EMILY NORMAN
IDEA services kapa haka performer Ameria Wallace (left) and Tama Paewai from Wairarapa REAP. PHOTO/EMILY NORMAN

Beginning with the national anthem, the group’s energy continued to lift throughout the performance, with a standout being Ameria Wallace, whose voice carried the melody line in most songs.

IDEA services manager Trish Claydon said she had been “banned” from watching them for the last four weeks, “because they wanted me to see the end product”.

“I just can’t believe how improved they all are,” she said after the performance.

“It’s been incredible- I hadn’t seen them all dressed up or anything.

“It just looked amazing.”

She said staff and volunteers had been instrumental in bringing the event together.

“This was something we’d been trying to do for a long, long time,” she said.

“We want to make sure that we embrace everyone’s culture and we’re hoping to carry it on.

“We want to make the kapa haka group stronger to entertain other people and groups.”

IDEA Services had fundraised to pay for the hall hire and a sausage sizzle for family and friends.

Wairarapa REAP, which assisted in teaching the group, are also supporting the annual Schools Kapa Haka Festival next week.

The festival will be held over two days on Wednesday and Thursday at the Carterton Events Centre.

There are 25 Wairarapa schools performing a range of Maori cultural performances.

It is open to the public at no charge and performances will run from 9.45am until 2.30pm, with a powhiri at 9.30am on Wednesday.

Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland is Wairarapa’s Local Democracy Reporter, a Public Interest Journalism role funded through NZ On Air. Emily has worked at the Wairarapa Times-Age for seven years and has a keen interest in council decision-making and transparency.

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