Khaysharn Kingi-Takoko

Key Info

Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Konohi, Waikato-Maniapoto

  • Bachelor of Arts
  • GradDipT
  • Master of Arts
  • Māori Language/Te Reo Māori
  • Māori Secondary Education

Khaysharn (Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Konohi, Waikato-Maniapoto) brings a little Kapa Haka to life everytime he talks, using his hands to communicate along with his reo. The masters student is performing with Whāngārā Mai Tawhiti, and already has three Te Matatini under his belt.

Sometimes people see Kapa Haka as a job or something to do. But it is more than that; for Khaysharn it is a life. “We’ve been brought up with Kapa Haka, and we don’t know anything other than that. We’ve been in it, around it, behind it. It’s another part of us. I use Kapa Haka as a vehicle to drive me through life. I would be lost without it, and wouldn’t know how to hold myself.”

It’s not just standing and performing. Khaysharn says it's the techniques of singing, and how to work together. “It’s maths, it’s choreography, it’s creativity and knowing how to talk to people, how to bring people together. It’s making people believe what you can see in your head. Not just the 40 people on stage, but to see the picture you are trying to create for them. It’s everything you learn, and with it comes the responsibility to know your routine before practice so you’re not putting  a burden on your team. All those kinds of things.”

Khaysharn’s first memory of Kapa Haka is a telling one. “My piupiu fell off. I was only a baby. But I picked it back up and carried on. It was because we were brought up not to be ashamed or shy about what we do. What I learned from that was to do your own piu! There was a big learning curve there. There’s always a learning curve in haka that you can apply to other parts of your life.”

For a male perspective on Kapa Haka, Khaysharn says, they’re reliant on their women. “They are at the forefront for 95% of the bracket, we are the energy box, we stand behind them as their pillars while they produce the face of what we want to say. It’s kudos to the women as they do most of the work, and we just push from the back and feed the energy to them. They play a huge roll in our success.”

Khaysharn has advice to the new university student who is involved in Kapa Haka, "Be open-minded - allow everything to come, and don’t think you know everything. Kapa Haka has a place everywhere, it’s maths, science and poetry." He says,"When I arrived at the University of Waikato from Gisborne, it really opened my eyes. I made connections with new people. I didn’t have any Pākehā mates, then I stayed at Bryant Hall, and I had 26 of them! It’s about opening yourself up to different things and people."

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