This week’s Rising Star is Rotorua Lakes High School Year 13 student Rarua Tahuriorangi (centre) who is flanked by friends Tasmynn Galvin-Keefe, 16, (left) and Kapaiariki Tahuriorangi, 16.
A star in the making, Rarua Tahuriorangi is a female leader of her school’s successful kapa haka group.
The 18-year-old Rotorua Lakes High School Year 13 student is this week’s Rising Star for her desire to embrace her cultural traditions and identity.
Rarua is a school prefect and a leader in the school’s kapa haka group Iti Rearea.
She is also a member of the senior kapa haka group Te Mataarae i o Rehu, which won the national kapa haka competition Te Matatini in 2011.
Last year, she was thrilled to be part of the kapa haka group involved in the opening ceremony of the Rugby World Cup at Eden Park.
This year, Rarua was involved in the festival of Pacific arts, travelling to the Solomon Islands to participate.
In four weeks’ time, she will travel to Frankfurt to represent her culture and country in a Celebration of Maori Culture in Germany.
Rarua says her motivation comes from her desire to embrace her cultural traditions as a symbol of her national identity.
She wants to be seen as a role model for younger Maori students to encourage them to embrace their culture and artistic heritage.
Next year, Rarua is going to spend time in Australia.
In 2014, she wants to attend university to study psychology with a focus on Maori tikanga and values.