On the Friday, 28 September Rutherford College Kapa Haka rōpū, Te Kōtuku under the leadership of Matua Jeff Ruha, joined our eight other Te Atatū Kōkiri Tahi Community of Learning (CoL) schools at the Matipo Pasifika Festival.
The festival has been running for a few years now, but this is the first time all schools in the community were invited to participate. The links between our schools have grown hugely with the support of the CoL structure. Seeing students from Year 1 – Year 13 together on the same day, was an illustration of tuakana-teina and commitment to the broader Te Atatū community.
The festival began with a pōwhiri from Matipo school. Their school lined up to waiata us, the manuhiri, so the day’s events could begin. It was clear how much aroha had gone into organising the event as Matipo student leaders ushered us to our roped off area, next to Rutherford Primary’s.
Our Mahi-a-toi student leaders have a tuakana relationship with Rutherford Primary, Freyberg and Rangeview Intermediate. They immediately looked after their younger tēina, helping them with moko stamps and making sure they were comfortable and sheltered.
When it came time for Rutherford College to perform, we shared our bracket with Rutherford Primary, Freyberg Community School and Rangeview Intermediate. Students from across the four schools performed waiata and haka together under the guidance of their student leaders and Te Kōtuku’s Matua Jeff Ruha.
At the end of the performance Matua Jeff presented Matipo Principal Paul Wright with a putatara (conch) to be used to call the festival. In turn, Paul Wright offered it to the festival itself so it may be passed to each school who will host.
Next year hosting rights have been given to Rutherford Primary. We look forward to attending next year, hope that our bracket might grow from four schools to nine and that this is the start of a long tradition for our schools.