Narre Warren South P-12 College is celebrating their cultural diversity and successful music program at the Victorian State Schools Spectacular.
Only a few years ago, Narre Warren South P-12 College applied for equity funding to run a music program. Now, the culturally diverse school is leading the Spectacular’s Pasifika Choir and Haka performances at the State School Spectacular.
Representing over 66 different cultural backgrounds, Performing Arts Coordinator at Narre Warren South P-12 College, Rob Oakley says that Narre Warren South P-12 embraces their diverse community.
‘Our Pasifika and Maori community is a strong backbone of Narre Warren South P-12 and our general area,’ Rob says. ‘It is important to us that we go the extra mile to celebrate and support all cultures.’
The Pasifika Choir originally began as an all-girls choir at Narre Warren South P-12. They made their debut at last year’s Victorian State Schools Spectacular.
‘Being invited to participate in the Spectacular really gave our kids an opportunity to apply their learnt skills and youthful professionalism,’ Rob says.
‘Each aspect of the Spectacular experience solidified to our kids that through hard work, personal practice and team efforts, they can conquer their nerves and achieve marvellous results.’
This year, the choir has grown to include all genders and up to 40 students. Students from Hampton Park Secondary College are also singing with the choir. The Pasifika Choir singers are looking forward to their performance in September.
‘I feel excited to have the opportunity to showcase our school and show off the talent we have,’ says Logan in Year 10.
Year 11 student Catherine says she is nervous but excited. ‘I’ll successfully get through that as I did last year,’ Catherine says.
A Victorian Haka
This year features a unique, 50-student Haka performance, ‘Wikitoria’ – the Maori word for ‘Victoria’. The Maori Haka is a ceremonial dance performed on significant occasions.
Narre Warren South P-12 teacher Luke Hiki is the school’s VCAL and cultural engagement coordinator, working with the school’s Polynesian students. The Spectacular asked Luke to create ‘Wikitoria’, a Haka about living together on the land. Luke says he wanted the Haka to have meaning for Victorians. ‘It states who we are as Maori and Polynesians,’ Luke says. ‘It pays respect to the Indigenous people of Australia. We are here in Australia as guests, and we include anyone from all corners of the globe to perform it.’
Half of the students performing the Haka are of Maori descent. The other students are from Samoan, Cook Island, Tongan and Australian backgrounds. Students from Tarneit P-9 and Hallam Senior College are joining them.
‘It is important that we provide opportunities for students to reconnect with the Maori culture,’ Luke says. ‘Many of them have been brought up in Australia, and lack the experiences that the language and culture provides from home.’
Luke says the students have had a positive experience learning how to do the Haka.
‘Haka enhances student's self-identity while teaching them discipline, controlled aggression and teamwork,’ Luke says. ‘They exhibit a focus and a form of self-discipline that may not be found in a standard classroom.’
Victorian State School Spectacular
State School Spectacular – 'Made of Stars' – will present performances by BMX riders, skaters, acrobats, circus artists, musicians and hip-hop dancers.
While many talented Victorian students will be in the spotlight onstage, other students will work behind the scenes, gaining unique experience in running a professional event.
The program contributes towards a key Education State target of Learning For Life improving critical and creative thinking, and more students achieving in the arts by 2025.
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