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Ministry apologises to kapa haka group

Wednesday August 07, 2013 Written by Published in Culture

The Ministry of Cultural Development has extended an apology to the Amokura kapa haka group that visited during Te Maeva Nui.

The Amokura kapa haka group from New Zealand were initially upset at not being able to perform on the main Te Maeva Nui stage, but now say that is all water under the bridge.

Lack of time and miscommunication led to frustrations that have now been cleared up.

The Amokura kapa haka group could not perform for the Te Maeva Nui celebrations due to budget cuts and the cancellation of the international night.

However, this did not deter the ministry from doing their best to keep everyone happy and it did not stop the group from having a good time in Rarotonga.

According to a ministry spokesperson, the shortening of the celebrations from a week to three nights meant that they were hard pressed to accommodate all the participants.

“We were all pushed for time at the time of celebrations and due to budget cuts we had to try and accommodate everyone as best as we could. The deciding factor on who got a chance to participate in the end was the budget and it was very small indeed. We had to try and fit in the team (Kapa Haka Amokura), overseas teams, a local Filipino team and the Pacific Islander team. We tried to accommodate everyone as best as we could. The celebrations had been cut down to three nights instead of a whole week and in a very short space of time, we had to make sure that everyone was catered for.”

The spokesperson says that they are very sorry for the way things turned out and that the final decision was out of their hands.

“We apologise to the Kapa Haka Amokura group that things did not go their way. The powers that be had made the decision about budget cuts and it was out of our hands. The implication of cutting down the celebrations to three nights had not been thought out. We would like to acknowledge the importance of the Amokura Kapa Haka group and we would like to apologise for how things worked out. For future events we intend to give them all due concern and make sure that they are fully accommodated.”

For the Amokura kapa haka group coming to Rarotonga was an amazing experience in spite of the changes to the Te Maeva Nui programme.

They performed at the Punanga Nui Markets; at New Zealand High Commission; for Captain Tama’s Lagoon Cruises; for the Aotearoa Society; at the Te Maeva Nui Parade; for the BCI Trade Days, and at Highland Paradise.

“The ability to perform at the Punanga Nui Market was absolutely awesome for our group on many different levels. It gave the kids the opportunity to perform in the ‘heat’ and to get a feel of how that would be. It also afforded us the ability to gauge the potential reaction of the Rarotonga audience-to which we were immensely satisfied,” says the group’s tutor Huata Martindale.

Martindale said the group was just glad that the festival was able to go ahead in the end.

“We are not holding any malice towards the ministry for these changes and are overwhelmingly thankful for the great reception we had from all,” says Martindale.

“We believe that we represented our country with dignity and are proud of what we achieved. We feel that we portrayed NZ Maori performing arts to a high standard and will never forget our wonderful experience in Rarotonga.”

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