Tiny tots are keeping their heritage alive while building their own whanau ties in a kapa haka group.
While the Takanini littlies show off their poi skills their older siblings are right behind them.
The popular whanau-based Nga Tamariki o Nga Hau E Wha kapa haka group started three years ago at the Kids Count early childhood centres.
Now it is reaching out to the wider community.
But its members need somewhere to practise for shows.
Tutor Maureen Blackmoore says there is no community hall in Takanini to rehearse with the tamariki.
Ms Blackmoore first formed a kapa haka group with her own mokopuna to teach them Maori values and traditions.
Her tamariki had a similar upbringing.
"There is a cultural breakdown in our society," she says. "It's not just in the Maori culture, it's all cultures and we need to change this otherwise we are going to lose our heritage.
"I say to other whanau if you have lots of grandchildren get them together and create a group.
"All children are performers, no matter what. Put them on the stage and they are like a different child."
The kapa haka group says it is grateful to Kids Count owner Mary McLeod and all the centre managers, staff and tutors for their support.
Keeping the group running is a community effort. Volunteers help sew costumes, play the guitar and even give the children free haircuts before performances.
Their latest show was at the 2014 Pasifika Festival at Western Springs last weekend.
Call Ms Blackmore on 027 811 7589 if you can offer a rehearsal space or any assistance for the kapa haka group.
- Papakura Courier
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