Te Puna o Wairaka put on their greatest ever performance at Polyfest on to finish third in Division 1 – their best result on the Māori stage.
Due to Covid-19 restrictions, this year’s competition – held on March 25 ­– had moved online, with each group performing on stage to the judges and a small handful of supporters and backstage workers, while the performance was live-streamed on the Māori Television website.
For the non-aggregate (non-competition) items, Te Puna placed 3rd for ‘Kākahu wahine’ (Female costumes), 1st for ‘Kākahu tāne’ (Male costumes), 3rd for Co-Ed Mau rākau (use of the rākau weaponry), 2nd equal for Manukura wahine (female leader), 3rd equal for Manukura tāne (male leader).
For the aggregate (competitive) items, Te Puna placed 3rd for the ‘Poi’, 3rd for the ‘Whakawātea’ (exit item), 3rd equal for ‘Mita o te reo’ (the command/use of te reo Māori’ including clarity and diction – accurate/fluent pronunciation).
Whaea Waimirirangi Paul said, “This year’s campaign was particularly challenging with students and one of our head tutors, Matua Peter Walters, going in and out of isolation.
“As a result, only 38 students took to the stage, where normally we would produce a 50-strong team. Further, normally there are three divisions, with a total of 42 teams across all divisions. However, this year only 18 schools participated on the Māori stage.
“Despite these challenges, the students persevered and worked incredibly hard for seven weeks to produce an outstanding performance on stage. In the end, the performance was dedicated to te hunga whetūrangi (those who’ve passed on in recent times), including our Albertians who fell during World War II, in celebration of our Centenary this year. We are very humbled by these achievements and look forward to what the future has in store as this is only the beginning!”