Kapa haka group sets sights higher this time

He Waka Kotuia members begin rehearsals for the New Zealand secondary schools kapa haka competition in July. Photo by Peter McIntosh.Pupils in the King's and Queen's High School kapa haka group are hoping there is some weight in the old adage, ''better luck next time''.

The group, He Waka Kotuia, has been selected for the second time to represent Otago and Southland at the national secondary schools kapa haka competition, in Gisborne, in July.

Teacher in charge of kapa haka, Cherie Ford, said the group competed in the 2011 national final in Whangarei, finishing 32nd out of 43 schools.

''That was the first time a group from Dunedin had gone to the secondary school nationals.

''This time we've set ourselves a target. We want to reach the top 20.''

Mrs Ford believed the group had a better chance of success this time because the last time the team competed, all the second-row girls were in year 9.

This year, they are all year 11 and it has added more experience to the group, she said.

''Knowing what to expect is part of the battle already won.

''They know the level required and how much rehearsal will have to go in,'' she said.

Rehearsals have begun for the 60-strong group, and each is working hard to win a place in the final 40 to go to the final.

But finding time to rehearse several hours a week, perform and raise funds for the trip was proving difficult, she said.

Already this year, the group had performed at the Waitangi Day celebrations at Otakou marae and at Thieves' Alley market day, and welcomed first-year and international University of Otago students to Dunedin.

On top of that, the pupils were working hard to raise $50,000 to make the journey to Gisborne.

''We're really busy.''

Anyone who could spare time to help the pupils raise funds would be greatly appreciated, she said.

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