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Behind the scenes of this group is a proud team of 30 volunteers and each month they pour hours of love and energy into nurturing and developing this group and its members.
Jess Somerville, Trustpower Community Relations Representative

For winning the Supreme Award, the Buller High School Kapa Haka Group received a framed certificate, a trophy and $1,500 prize money. The Buller High School Kapa Haka Group now has the opportunity to represent the district at the 2014 TrustPower National Community Awards, which are being held in the Wellington region in March 2015.

In total, Trustpower has given away over $5,000 to various community groups through tonight’s Awards.

Trustpower Community Relations Representative Jess Somerville says when it came to the Supreme Winner award, the judges couldn’t look past a group who have taken a group of students on an incredible learning journey and inspired a community in the process.

“Through performance, Kapa Haka enhances the understanding of Māori language, culture and heritage, and over the past few years interest has grown right across the region. This increase is mostly thanks to the very successful and determined Buller High School Kapa Haka Group and their reputation for quality performance.

“Volunteers organise and attend regular practises, coach the students, oversee fundraising efforts, organise outfits and the students have been volunteering to mentor younger students too. Members of the group also gave up their time to be on the West Coast Kapa Haka Festival organising committee and all they all played an important role on the day.

“Over the last 18 months a big focus for the team has been to fundraise and practise for a trip to Hawaii to share their culture and Kapa Haka performance. These fundraisers varied from cleaning cars to shovelling coal to helping with events and the community was behind them every step of the way.

“This surge in interest in Kapa Haka at Buller High School is not only providing pathways for Māori students to engage with their culture, language and heritage but for other students too. Under the direction of caring and encouraging volunteers these students are developing into talented young leaders who are participating in more areas of school life. This good will is spreading into junior schools and raised awareness of Maori culture in the community too,” says Miss Somerville.

Buller District Mayor says it was due to the obvious passion and pride that the students displayed at Kapa Haka competition that the teachers, parents and the community supported their endeavourer assisting with funding the trip to Hawaii.

“The group have brought Te reo and Maori culture into our community, giving a higher awareness of New Zealand’s heritage. You cannot watch this group of youth without having pride swell up inside you knowing that Kapa Haka is making them better for the experience”, says Mayor Howard.

Thirty-three groups were entered into this year’s Trustpower Buller Community Awards.

Other award recipients at tonight’s Trustpower Buller Community Awards were:

Heritage and Environment
Winner: Buller A & P Association

Health and Well Being
Commendation: Rape and Sexual Abuse Support West Coast Inc
Runner-Up: Buller Wheelchair Bus Incorporated
Winner: Mum4Mum Breastfeeding Supporters

Arts and Culture
Runner-Up: Westport Wahines
Winner: Lyric Theatre

Sport and Leisure
Runner- up: Buller Golden Oldies Hockey
Winner: Reefton Junior Rugby

Education and Child/Youth Development
Runner-Up: Westport Pony Club
Winner: Buller Youth Development Group

Supreme Winner
Buller High School Kapa Haka Group

Youth Spirit
Winner: Sofie Heaphy