Matariki is a time to awaken your skills – and students at Waiheke High did just that as they celebrated the Maori New Year.
Members of the four houses – Rangitoto, Ponui, Pakatoa and Rakino – took to the stage to perform for guest judge Michael Steedman from Auckland University.
A well rehearsed kapa haka performance by Rakino won them house honours but Ponui put in a committed entry to come second in the annual competition.
Mr Steedman was involved in the opening ceremony of the Rugby World Cup at Eden Park last year and had just officiated at the national kapa haka competitions.
He gave a slide presentation about Matariki and explained how the celebrations came about as the harvest was brought in and how early Maori stored their food to make it last through the winter months.
He congratulated the school on creating an annual festival where traditions could be continued and everyone could join together to celebrate and enjoy a hangi.
"Matariki is a good time to reflect on your place in the world, to reawaken old skills, try out new ones and to set new goals," he says.
This year's competitions included a general knowledge quiz run by librarian Sue Pharo. Rangitoto won the prizes for years 7 and 8, and 9 and 10, and Rakino won the senior competition.
There was also a poster competition for juniors and seniors of each house with the completed works used to decorate the hall. It was judged by sculptor Paora Te Rangiuaia who awarded the junior prize to Pakatoa and the senior prize to Rangitoto.
Students tried their skills in another new addition to the event – a game of Matariki – before sharing a hangi meal. The non-contact sport was played on the school field.