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Ngā Hua a Tāne Rore: The Benefits of Kapa Haka.

This report presentsthe findings of scoping research that is focused on developing a research agenda that will enable a greater understanding of the value and contribution of kapa haka to Aotearoa New Zealand society, and which explores the multiple ways in which we may view the value and contribution of kapa haka within cultural, social and economic contexts. • There was a unanimous and resounding view that kapa haka does indeed make a valuable contribution to Aotearoa New Zealand society, but that its value is not fully understood or acknowledged within Aotearoa New Zealand. • The most important components of kapa haka are its intrinsic link to culture and Māori identity, and the essential element of whanaungatanga, the importance of people and connectedness. • Kapa haka has a dynamic role as a vehicle for the revitalisation and retention of te reo, tikanga, ritual processes and histories. • It is perceived as a gateway into the culture for Māori who are disengaged from their marae/hapū/iwi, as well as as a safe, inclusive activity through which all New Zealanders can engage with Māori culture. • Kapa haka is seen as a medium for fostering a richer, more cohesive and inclusive society in Aotearoa New Zealand. As such, it makes a major contribution to building and strengthening New Zealand’s nationhood. • Kapa haka makes a significant contribution to New Zealand’s national identity and how we are represented and viewed internationally. It provides an effective platform for creating meaningful connections with other nations and peoples. • Māori culture/kapa haka is increasingly utilised to add value to many forums, both formal and informal, within the public and government sectors. This was seen by some to reflect a more embracing attitude toward Māori cultural protocols as a normal part of New Zealand’s social fabric. • Kapa haka is not, however, being given the status or respect it deserves as a cultural icon. Because its significance is not well understood by non-Māori, particularly at the level of government, it is often treated in a tokenistic way. • A major component of kapa haka is its power to effect wellbeing, and to positively transform the lives of individuals and communities. A strength of the movement towards increased health and fitness within kapa haka is that it is achieved collectively. • An important social benefit of kapa haka is that it provides a positive, disciplined, strength-based environment for rangatahi. • Kapa haka is having a powerful, transformative impact on social outcomes through the BMPA (Māori performing arts degree), which enables people involved in kapa haka who would otherwise never have considered tertiary education as an option, to embark on that journey and exceed their own expectations. • An overall feeling of optimism about the future of kapa haka was tempered by the conviction that there was much more potential to be explored within the realm of kapa haka, particularly in terms of its social benefits. • The myriad benefits of kapa haka within school environments, including improved learning outcomes, were clearly attested to. However, some barriers to realising those improved outcomes were also identified. • Some participants were very sure ofthe economic value of kapa haka to Aotearoa. Whilemost of them were less able to articulate specific economic outcomes, they nonetheless had a definite sense of the link between the cultural, social and economic, and that that was ofsignificant value. • The immense value of ‘culture-to-culture’ relationships was identified, with Maōri culture, including kapa haka, playing a significant role in laying the foundations for lasting trade relationships with other nations, and other cultures. • Two significant and largely unacknowledged areas of economic contribution were identified: the ‘silent’ economy generated by kapa haka activities; and the extensive ‘productivity’ activity around voluntary workers involved in kapa haka. • There was an overall view that the economic potential of kapa haka is underestimated and needs to be explored more fully, including the potential for engagement with New Zealand’s private sector. • A recurrent theme that emerged around the value of kapa haka was to do with how we should go about measuring the value of culture, knowledge and art, and how ‘value’ itselfshould be defined and measured. • Economic challenges were identified, especially in terms of financial hardship for those involved in kapa haka at the competitive level. It was also noted, however, that kapa haka communities are naturally adept and endlessly resourceful at generating funds. • The issue of sustainability was raised by some participants who were concerned that kapa haka should be supported at every level into the future, and not just at the high-end competitive level. • Of fundamental importance was that the growth and development of kapa haka should take place within the context of the acceptance and embracing of Māori culture as an integral component of New Zealand identity and nationhood.
Type of thesis
Pihama, L., Tipene, J., & Skipper, H. (2014). Ngā Hua a Tāne Rore: The Benefits of Kapa Haka. (Report). Wellington, New Zealand: Manatū Taonga - Ministry of Culture & Heritage.
Manatū Taonga - Ministry of Culture & Heritage
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