Taipa students take to the stage in major Barcelona festival

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In less than a week andwith just under $10,000left to raise, Taipa Area School Ki-o-Rahi teamwill be guest performers at one of Spains biggest annual festivals.

The group of 14 students and 5 accompanying adults from the rural far north community are scheduled to make several performances in Barcelonas La Merce Festival between September 24 and 26. The Taipa programme will include 15-55 minute kapa haka performances incorporating theatre and interactive games to demonstrate the ancient Maori ball game, Ki-o-Rahi.

Human Tower at Barcelona's La Merce Festival

Hailey Tobin, the Taipa teacher leading the group says the students has been preparing intensively for the trip with a series of overnight live-ins in the last month. As part of the festival, our group will be performing onstage in a number of public arenas including a curtain raiser for an international rugby match against France.

Its a really spectacular event and our kids are really gearing up for it says Mandy Hudson, Taipa Sports Coordinator joining the tour.

We are kind of freaking out because we didnt anticipate how big it would really be. Our students are going to be performing in front of massive crowds. It will be an unforgettable experience for all of us.

Dating back more than one hundred years, the festival began when the Pope named the Virgin of La Merce the patron saint of Barcelona. Spectators are drawn every year to see the famous religious and cultural street parades a myriad of exhibitions and performances relating to dance, theatre, music and art taking place across the city.

The build up to this trip has been an amazing journey. We had many non-believers who simply didnt think we could do it. All credit goes to the students, families and local supporters who have worked really hard to make this possible.

The Taipa students are also really looking forward to meeting the New Zealand National Ki-o-Rahi team, lead by Buck Shelford in Gif sur Yvette, near Paris where both teams will participate in an internationaltouch tournament.

It is a great honour for our small rural school to be offered this opportunity says Hailey. So we are making the most of it.

Far North Group, Taipa Ki-o-Rahi Aotearoa preforming at La Merce Festival in Barcelona

Taipa Ki-o-Rahi, Aotearoa has many local business people to thank as well as major sponsors Southern Trust, Oxford Trust and Te Puni Kokiri. The team also wishes to acknowledge Te Runanga o Ngapuhi and Ngati Kuri Trust Board for their generous support.

For more information about the game, the tour and the group visit: www.kiorahi.co.nz

Having spent some time in Barcelona, we can only imagine the incredible journey this roopu is to experience. Have a wonderful time, be safe and take lots of pics!!

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