Photo caption: Elsie Rakuraku at Te Matatini
A new Māori performing arts course being offered in Whakatane for the first time can help make a real difference in the lives of rangatahi (young people), says its highly experienced kaiako (tutor).
Elsie Rakuraku (Te Aupōuri, Ngāpuhi and Ngāti Kurī) is starting the Toi Maruata Level 3 course next month for Te Wānanga o Aotearoa.
The course will involve tauira (students) developing an arts project or production, involving Māori arts such as kapa haka, drama and dance.
“We’ll collectively decide on the exact nature of what we do once all the tauira are together,” says Elsie (63), who helped start the Rotorua campus in 1993, where the first Te Wānanga o Aotearoa Māori performing arts course was offered.
Toi Maruata Level 3 will involve a marae stay a month for five months, plus a once a week face-to-face class in Whakatane. The course is fees free.
Elsie has a particularly strong background in kapa haka which she says keeps her excited about passing on knowledge to rangatahi.
“I have a passion for kapa haka and what it brings to our young people, as they get a bit passionate too.
“I can see what it does to rangatahi – it gives them self-esteem, for example. I can see the difference it makes.”
Photo caption: Elsie with her husband, and a group including a son and two daughters. Kapa haka has been “our life as a whanau”, says Elsie.
The Level 3 course is a potential bridging course for rangatahi wanting to do higher level Māori performing arts courses at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa, Elsie adds.
People interested in the course can visit our Toi Maruata programme page or contact Elsie at firstname.lastname@example.org and on 022 401 5892.