Fantastic results for Te Rerenga Wāna

The results are in, and we are so proud of Te Rerenga Wāna.

Competing at this year’s Polyfest competition against teams from all divisions, our students recorded fantastic results, including 1st in Haka Taparahi, and 9th overall out of 18 teams.

Full results were:

Non-Aggregate Awards section
Manukura Wahine – Best leaders: 4th
Kākahu Wahine – Best dressed: 5th

Competition Awards section
Haka Taparahi – Ladies haka: 1st
Waiata-ā-ringa – Action song: 5th
Poi:  8th
Mōteatea – Lament: 9th
Whakawātea – Exit: 9th
Whakaeke – Entrance:  11th

 Final Overall position (9th)

“The thing I am most  proud of, is how the group managed to produce such a polished bracket under a pressured time frame, covid conditions and the relative inexperience of the students within,” says Matua Eddie Hudson.

Te Rerenga Wāna was under the guidance of new tutors Lyric Wihoete, Renee Lawrence Rudolf, Maddison Gerbes and Tirakahurangi Leef, with guitarist Sarah Tahere. “They themselves were new to this role, and their impressive combined talents of original song writing, singing and choreography, allowed our students to experience a successful campaign.”

Eddie says there was uncertainty of whether Westlake would enter a group at Polyfest because of Covid and concerns that the young group (there were no Year 13s) would be able to produce a bracket worthy for Polyfest. “However, our tutors saw this as a challenge rather than a barrier and put together a bracket that expressed Mana Wāhine – Power of the women – through the expressive words and actions of the items from the Whakaeke (Entry) right to the Whakawātea (Exit).

“Seven weeks later with numerous Sunday, school week and lunchtime practices (student directed), Te Rerenga Wāna produced a performance we would all be proud of. To our Kaitātaki Wahine Bella Allan-Moetaua and Caitlin Jenkins and the rōpū, congratulations on representing Te Kura Taitamawāhine o Ururoto with distinction at the ASB Polyfest for 2022.”

Bella (pictured at right standing) and Caitlin (kneeling), both Year 12, were Kaitātaki Wahine for Te Rerenga Wāna 2022. “Being a Kaitātaki Wahine is a huge job within the rōpū,” says Bella. “Not only are we helping the girls catch up on actions, and taking lunchtime practice, its also about being there for the girls in as many ways as you can. This meant we were there for them mentally and physically, making sure that they were all okay in terms of school work!”

Close friends, Bella and Caitlin said it was an honour and privilege to share the honour and stand side-by-side on stage together.

They said the group practiced every lunchtime, as well as after school on Mondays and Fridays until 6.30pm. “It was time consuming and tough, but we all pulled together and it was well worth it,” says Caitlin.

Caitlin has been part of the Westlake Girls Kapa Haka team since she was in Year 9 in 2019. Bella joined when she started at Westlake in Year 10. “I was so afraid to join as I was mostly scared of the boys, but I went to a couple of practices and decided to put my heart and soul into it – and that’s what I did.”

Bella and Caitlin agree that the most challenging part of the competition this year was the Covid restrictions such as not singing inside, standing two meters apart and having students away through isolation.

“The best part would 100% have to be the performance,” says Bella. “As a Kaitātaki this year it was a completely different experience! Everything was different – from what we wore, what we led within our bracket, to being interviewed live interview on Māori Television.” Caitlin agrees, “It was a cool experience being a Kaitātaki – having different hair styles, feathers, and leading items in the bracket. I loved being on stage representing ‘Tu mai Mana Wahine’ and Westlake Girls High School.

Performing without an audience was a new experience, but it just added a different dimension to the performance. “I personally enjoyed it,” says Bella. “I felt I had a deeper connection with the judges and the rōpū. You were able to see the judges’ reactions to each item, which I liked because it gave me more and more confidence as the bracket went on. Without having an audience my focus was really brought back to the rōpū.”

The experience has changed both performers. “I feel like I’ve matured as person and have become more confident within myself and who I am,” says Caitlin. “Being a leader this year really helped as I knew I would have to pull my weight, and push myself and the group so that we could perform to our highest standard possible.”

Bella agrees. “I have become more confident within myself. When I say confident I mean in a way where, if I mess up I can still be confident in that mistake. I wasn’t embarrassed about things I couldn’t control and I know now that if I put in the effort, I can do well.”

The Kapa haka were: Bella Allan-Moetaua, Riley Ataria, Mari-Lyn Connelly, Isabella Drummond, Tuini Hawke, Kaianne Henare, Raquel Hunt, Harmony Huston, Parmida Jafarian, Caitlin Jenkins, Moana Kaire, Kiera Miller, Amelia Moke, Riley Pasese, Anahera Petera, Issy Rhodes, Kiara Ruka, Anahera Smith, Vydella Tamihana, Selena Toia, Saascha Wharerau Young, Karscha Wichman Wallace.

Reserves: Olivia Retimana, Makayla Tonkin and Sadie Hobson