Festival lifts the wellbeing of people with intellectual disabilities

Te Rakipae Whenua Kapahaka Roopu from North Shore at the recording of their festival performance.

IDEA Services has gone virtual for this year’s Te Anga Pāua o Aotearoa Kapa Haka Festival.

After COVID-19 shattered the chances of a national kapa haka festival this year, we called on IDEA Services rōpū from across Aotearoa to send in a video of their best performance to create a virtual festival for 2020.

In total, we received 21 videos from IDEA Services rōpū. This number far exceeded the participation that we anticipated and it highlights the ongoing commitment of staff to actively support kiritaki (people using our services) to engage in forms of kaupapa Māori as well as the holistic benefits of engaging in kapa haka.

“The opportunity that has opened up for kiritaki in kapa haka has far exceeded our expectations in the personal growth of performers and in their whānau,” says Te Atakura Ryan, IDEA Services Kaitakawaenga. “It is not only a physical uplifting, moving your body in line with singing a waiata or haka, but it is also a mental and spiritual lifting of a person’s wellbeing in every sense.”

For many, being involved in kapa haka creates a sense of identity, and a connection to their whānau, hapū, iwi and marae. Outside of the cultural benefits, kapa haka improves fitness and it improves motor skills through actions and choreography as well as mathematics through counting and following beats.

Taki Peeke, also a Kaitakawaenga at IDEA Services, notes that kapa haka has opened doors for many kiritaki to build stronger social relationships and to be part of their community. “As part of their kapa haka programme, kiritaki are connecting with their marae, their hapū, their iwi, they are empowered and proud to be Māori,” he says. “Many of our rōpū are also invited to perform at events in their community.”

It’s not only Māori who are involved in IDEA Services kapa haka rōpū, people from all backgrounds are invited to be part of the experience. “It’s about being one voice, one group, connected as one. Our rōpū are working together, for each other,” says Taki.

The premiere of the Te Anga Pāua o Aotearoa Kapa Haka Festival is scheduled for Thursday 10 December at 4pm on the IHC New Zealand YouTube channel.

Photo caption: Te Hauaruru O Tamaki from West / Central Auckland at the recording of their festival performance.

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