EXCITEMENT is growing at Te Kura Mana Maori o Whangaparaoa as the school prepares to host a regional speaking competition.
Principal Tuihana Pook said 300 visitors were expected for the Mataatua Regional Secondary Schools Nga Manu Korero Competition, which will be held on Friday, June 22.
“This is the first time we have been hosting it,” she said.
“We have had students from here do well in the competitions in the past.”
Students from Whangaparaoa have previously won some of the sections, going on to national competitions.
“That’s why we’re keen to host it this year,” Mrs Pook said.
The visitors, including 45 contestants, will be hosted at marae across the area to make the travel-and-visit experience easier.
“Previously, some people thought it was far to travel here, but we pointed out we’ve done the travelling for many years,” Mrs Pook said.
“This year the shoe is on the other foot.”
A powhiri would be held for the visitors on the Thursday, after which they would sit down for a meal.
“It’s the time of the moki, which is a special fish for us,” Mrs Pook said.
Everybody at the school was excited to host the competition this year.
“The school is closed for the day and many students will be helping out.”
Two marquees will be set up.
“It’s about keeping the language alive and we’re getting kai and the students ready.”
A good spread of judges, including former politician and media personality John Tamihere, Labour MP Kiri Allan and Gisborne Mayor Meng Foon would ensure the competition was fair.
The four students who will represent the school at the competition are proud to have won their spots after the school-based competitions.
Year 13 student Te Houhi Beamsley will compete in senior English; year 10 student Shilo Allen competes in junior English; year 9 student Rachal Tai will compete in junior Maori and year 12 student Peter Grant will compete in senior Maori.
English teacher Kerrin Mato said having relatives watch them speak would add extra pressure on the students.
“Having the whanau watch will be great,” she said. “When we travel, only a few of them are able to come along.”
Mrs Pook said the school would put on a bit of a fiesta on the day.
“We’ll have stalls and food,” she said.
“Coffee, baking, hot soup and