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Education: Takapuna Grammar School

Students take to the stage in cultural celebration

Polyfest has been in existence since 1976. It was first held at Hillary College, with four schools, organised by a small team including our very own Mr Boaz Raela. Back in the 1970s he was a performer in the Cook Island group and the Maori group.
Now, 39 years later, over 60 schools and 200 groups throughout the Auckland region participate, including a large group representing Takapuna Grammar School. We have been participants since 2007.
It is a great opportunity for students all over Auckland to celebrate and express their Maori and Pasifika culture. Over four days groups representing Samoa, Niue, Tonga, the Cook Islands and Maori express themselves through cultural performances.
Students gave up lunchtimes, afternoons and several Sundays, so that they were ready to perform on Wednesday 12th March. Through Kapa Haka, students establish new friendships and discover new-found passions and through this whole cultural experience the group has kept Maori culture alive and become more united as they faced the stage together.
The Kapa Haka group performed on the Maori stage in front of a huge crowd of people who had gathered for the performances that day. Among the crowd, many students recognised the familiar faces of friends and family who had come to support them. Emotions were high as the group performed, parents, relatives and friends were brought to tears as their hearts swelled with Takapuna pride. A significant aspect of this year’s Kapa Haka group was an item titled: “Aue te Wero”, written by kapav haka mentor, Boaz Raela. “Aue te wero” expresses this year’s theme about the need to look after our oceans and lands, as they are treasures and if we were to lose them we would lose ourselves. It was performed to the melody of Lorde’s song: “Royals”. Lorde, a former Takapuna Grammar student, has become an inspiration to many students and this item was a dedication to her success.
Being filmed and interviewed for TV because of the Lorde tune "Royals" was a real buzz for the group and our two young leaders who spoke very well, representing the group, the school with mana.
One student, Tayla Smith-Tohu, commented: “I thought we did really well. It was really cool seeing the reaction of the crowd when we sang “Aue to wero”. I was proud of our group.”
The male kaea of the kapa haka, Liam Hill, also commented: “We felt strong throughout the performance. We were able to give our very best to the end. I was proud of the boys, especially in the haka.”
By Storm Robertson.

A Physics Fight
Astounding young physicists, Harry Elworthy, Mustafa Sherif and Samim Ozyurteri battled out a “Physics Fight" at the 9th Auckland Regional Young Physicists' Tournament, held at Westlake Girls High School recently.

This team of three returned home with a remarkable score of 89.9 points and placed 8th.
They ‘fought’, to convey their findings to complicated scientific problems, which most judges didn't know the answer to. They researched and experimented for months to come up with "Monstrous equations," according to Harry, to prove their findings.
Given only 12 minutes, the teams were to present solutions in a 'convincing' presentation and defend their findings in scientific discussions, in what was called a 'Physics Fight'. Each team participated in three 'Fights', presenting their findings to questions ranging from "Explain the phenomenon of the retarding force in magnetic brakes," to "Design a device that converts heat of a candle flame into electrical energy."
 "It was a long day full of Physics Fights, but it was definitely a great experience that I will remember in the future," said Samim afterwards.
 The team started preparing for the event last year, taking Scholarship classes while they were still in Year 12.
Mr Stewart acknowledged that it has taken a few years to get a strong team together and that it was a marvellous achievement to perform well in their first competition.

by Channel Editorial