Spring festival packed with power

Students performing at the Koanga festival at Somerville Intermediate. Times Photo Wayne Martin.

Sitting in the front row and swaying to the rhythm of the beat at the Koanga Festival hosted on Saturday at Somerville Intermediate School was Whaea Taini Drummond, a familiar Maori figure known to all schools in the area.

Twenty- six years ago, when Mrs Drummond had a vision of Koanga Festival with the idea of introducing the love for Maori culture in the school curriculum, she never imagined that the festival would grow to this magnitude.

Heavy rain showers on Saturday morning didn’t curb the enthusiasm of hundreds of students from 38 primary and secondary schools in Howick, Pakuranga, Botany and Whitford as they turned up with their proud parents, siblings, grandparents, uncles and aunties in tow.

The powhiri started with blessings by Mrs Drummond, while students of Pigeon Mountain and Bucklands Beach Intermediate carried the ceremonial waka down the aisle to the stage at Somerville Intermediate.