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Huntly hero wins top Waikato scholarship

2 March 2016

Huntly kapa haka champ Keihana Kingi-Takoko has received a Sir Edmund Hillary Scholarship from the University of Waikato.

Huntly kapa haka champ Keihana Kingi-Takoko has received a Sir Edmund Hillary Scholarship from the University of Waikato.

Former Te Wharekura o Rākaumanga head boy and Dux Keihana Kingi-Takoko has been awarded a hefty scholarship to study at the University of Waikato.

Keihana is the proud reciepient of a Sir Edmund Hillary Scholarship – an all-fees paying scholarship that supports students in a chosen discipline, and provides mentoring, personal development and leadership opportunities while they study.

The scholarship is given on the basis of academic excellence, leadership, and achievement in a sport or creative and performing art.

The Huntly local received the scholarship because of his strong national achievement in Māori Performing Arts. Hailing from Te Tairāwhiti, Ngāti Porou region, Keihana has been performing kapa haka since he was four.

Keihana is a descendant of Ngāti Porou through Ngāti Konohi and has ties with the Waikato and Maniapoto iwi. He says performing kapa haka is his way of staying connected to his cultural heritage.

“For me, kapa haka is a living source of energy. It is the pinnacle of who we are as a people, both spiritually and politically, and the lessons you learn from it can be applied in your everyday life,” he says.

As a composer and kapa haka tutor, Keihana believes in the importance of passing on tradition to the next generation.

“There’s nothing better than seeing my love for kapa haka be continued within the kids I teach. Through my studies I want to look at how we can apply contemporary views (in a respectful manner) to kapa haka, to aid its survival in the future,” he says.

Keihana is studying towards a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Te Reo Māori and Linguistics, and says the Sir Edmund Hillary Scholarship means more than just fees support and mentoring.

“Receiving this scholarship proves that even a small town boy can be recognised for his achievements and aspire to strenghten his education. It allows me to give back to the people who have supported me, so my hapuu and iwi may benefit from their uri.”


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