South Canterbury schools show off some flava
Culture and creativity combined at the Theatre Royal on Friday for an annual school festival.
The Ka Toi Maori O Aoraki Flava Festival 2017 attracted entries from 20 schools in South and Mid Canterbury, organiser Felicity McMillan said.
Organised by Arowhenua Whanau Services, the event is in its 11th year, and is a cultural competition showcasing visual arts, performing arts and kapa haka.
McMillan said hundreds of pupils from primary and secondary schools in the two regions had entered the festival.
"Entry numbers are on par with last year," she said.
"It's a great festival and a lot of preparation goes into it. It's all about the kids learning kapa haka and about the Maori culture."
She said a highlight of this year's event was the introduction of scholarships to Ara Institute of Canterbury for the top two senior schools in the competition.
McMillan said every year the competition got stronger, and this year's festival was no different.
"It's showcasing what kids have achieved and the calibre improves every year."
She said while nerves were often high on the day, once the children were on the stage they started to relax and enjoy the show.
The festival was an initiative that derived from the former Maori Youth Suicide Prevention strategy.
It was rolled out into South Canterbury schools, and aimed at building resilience in Maori youth and supporting whanau and community connections.
In 2006 the strategy identified an interest in developing a South Canterbury schools competition to promote pride in their identity, to showcase their talents and to express their creativity.
From here the Flava Festival was created.
The festival is open to all primary, secondary and tertiary education within the Arowhenua rohe - the Southern Alps and between the Waitaki and Rakaia rivers.
- The Timaru Herald