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Apii Takitumu girls break barriers, embrace Tangi Kaara Challenge

Tuesday 18 June 2024 | Written by Melina Etches | Published in Education, National

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Apii Takitumu girls break barriers, embrace Tangi Kaara Challenge
Apii Takitumu’s drumming team has six keen girls participating in the Tauranga Vananga’s 2024 Emo’anga Tangi Kaara/CITC Pump the Beats Primary Schools Drumming Challenge on Thursday. MELINA ETCHES/24061707

For years, the art of drumming had been the domain of the boys, however, a shift has occurred, as more and more girls have stepped up, eager to master the art of tangi ka’ara (drumming).

At Apii Takitumu, more girls are willingly joining Tauranga Vananga’s 2024 Emo'anga Tangi Kaara/CITC Pump the Beats (Primary and Secondary) Drumming Challenge which takes place this week.

Six girls will be featured in the school’s team.

“It used to be that the boys would be more committed to the drumming classes, while the girls would focus more on dancing,” explains Anjima Ruarau, the school’s culture coordinator.

“But recently more girls are keen to learn and focus on drumming.

“I think it’s because girls are more committed since our drumming lessons are held during the lunch breaks so that we don’t disrupt their academic lessons.

“When auditions for our drummers started, 16 kids showed interest, and most of them were girls, and as time went on, some boys dropped out, preferring to play during their lunch time.”

Ruarau believes that Tauranga Vananga and the sponsors who support the event are valuable to preservation of culture “so that we can pass on our cultural talents and knowledge to our young generation”.

On Thursday night Apii Takitumu drummers: Manihiki Tau - pau, Joey Urirau - pau mango, Teata Rima - tikita, Heimata Akaroa - lead pate, Amara Gribble - lead pate, Hinamoana Olah - lead pate, Moana Vogel - backup pate, Amani Atera - backup pate, Nato Maeva - backup pate, Taikanapa Blake - pau mango, and six-year-old Juanta Ruarau, the reserve drummer, will be showcasing their skills.

Ten-year-old female drummer Manihiki Tau has played the pau since starting school this year.

“I love playing the pau because it keeps the beat up and it’s fun,” said Tau.

In addition to their old drums, Apii Takitumu is proud to be using a new drum set (tikita, pate x 2, a pau, and pau mango) gifted last month by Titikaveka College through the Te Rito O Taku Peu Tupuna grant.

The primary school’s competition will start at 6.30pm this Thursday at Te Are Karioi. It will feature Apii Takitumu, Apii Te Uki Ou, Apii Rutaki, Apii Arorangi, Apii Nikao, and Apii Avarua, followed by their prize giving.

On Friday at 6.30pm, the secondary school’s competition will be held between Titikaveka College and Tereora College’s Maunga Te Kou, Maunga Ikurangi, and Maunga Te Manga. 

The ticket prices are: Child (5 and under) = Free, Child (12 and under) = $2 per night, Adults (13+) = $10 per night. Adults Prepay Pass for 2 nights = $15, Family Prepay Pass for 2 nights = $30 (2x adults and 2x children).