Ko ngā rau paenga o Waiwaia
Waiwaia, the Maniapoto Secondary School Festival that has been entertaining the iwi for over 30 years has come and gone once more. Taking place annually at different venues, the festival was in high spirits as numerous secondary schools gathered to Ōtorohanga College to come together, perform kapa haka and develop their identity under the shelter of Te Rohe Pōtae.
Once the pōwhiri concluded, the cultural festival saw secondary schools which included Ōtorohanga College, Piopio College, Te Kūiti High School and Te Wharekura o Maniapoto make their presence known on the papa tūwaewae. This year also saw the debut of Te Wharekura o Ngā Purapura o Te Aroha, a kura which started as a rūmaki in 2009 and received wharekura status in 2011.
Ōtorohanga received the mauri from Piopio College, and this year the mauri was passed on to Te Wharekura o Maniapoto. Building relationships between inter-regional secondary schools is what this eventful festival fosters. With the competition card off the table, the festival encourages the rekindling of traditional pūrākau, haka, and waiata with Waiwaia at the forefront of the kaupapa.
Waiwaia, refers to the tōtara tree that once resided near the headwaters of Waipa river, however, it was sent down into the earth and water, thus transforming into a taniwha. The taniwha is still seen in the waters of Waipa today, as it floats and drifts along the mighty river, it is now known to be a taniwha of Ngāti Maniapoto.
Maniapoto Māori Trust Board are proud of the success of this festival and will strive to continue the support that is provided to these types of events.