Gisborne Cultural Competitions
A striking feature of the 15th annual Maori competitions in Gisborne on 3 September was the number of Pakehas taking part.
In fact, cheers and shouts of encouragement greeted the Gisborne High School haka team which was lead by a young European boy.
The guest artists at the evening performance—members of the Kawerau Maori Club who left on a tour of Australia on 12 September—had in their ranks many European children. Though a little unsure at first, the party soon relaxed and the large audience in the Gisborne Opera House enjoyed the competent action songs, hakas and stick games.
Other guest artists in the evening were members
Mrs P. Kaua presents the new trophy, the Tuini Ngawai Memorial Cup to a member of the Mangapapa primary team
L. J. Edwards photo
The afternoon guest artists were North Clyde Primary School pupils, from Wairoa.
Three teams competed in the primary and four in the junior sections of the competitions in the afternoon. Four teams competed in the senior section. Each team had to perform a modern action song, a haka taparahi, a poi and an ancient Maori melody.
The judges were Myna Poi, Gisborne, the late H. Te kani Te Ua, Puha, Koro Dewes, Wellington, and Hana Mita, Nuhaka. One of their decisions—awarding 100 per cent to three teams in the modern action song section—was not popular, even with the performers, who said they would prefer to have the judges explain their marking and tell teams where they could improve.
Mrs P. Kaua made the presentations to the junior and primary section winners and the Mayor of Gisborne, Mr H. H. Barker, officiated in the evening.
A new trophy, the Tuini Ngawai Memorial Cup for the best primary group, was donated by Te Hokowhitu A Tu party.
It was awarded for the younger competitors because the late Tuini Ngawai—who composed more than 200 songs—believed the future of Maori art was in the hands of the children, said Mrs Ngoi Pewhairangi, Tokomaru Bay, the leader of Te Hokowhitu A Tu.
The cup was won by Mangapapa.
After the evening performance a supper and dance, with a Kawerau dance band, were held at the Poho-O-Rawiri meeting house.