Pasifika Performing Arts
Samoan, Tongan and Cook Islands Performing Arts are an important part of our curriculum. Far from being just an “add-on” activity that happens when visitors come, or once a year for a competition, we understand the importance of Pasifika skills and knowledges for the development of secure cultural identity for our young people.
Researchers are beginning to understand more about this connection. Highly respected Tongan academic, Konai Helu Thaman, says that, for over one hundred years we have promoted a view of education that is completely the opposite of our traditional notions of learning and teaching. Many see the revival of cultural performance as a way for cultural groups to establish cultural boundaries and create and maintain cultural identities.
In Fanau Pasifika Performing Arts is a genuine and legitimate learning experience. We expect our students will develop strength and knowledge in contemporary and traditional Pasifika performance. As well as the obvious benefit for our students’ cultural identity, Performing Arts can also be the beginning of students’ further study at degree level in drama, dance, music, film and television. Students earn NCEA Level 1, 2 and 3 credits for Performing Arts.
Fanau Pasifika have performing with merit in the ASB Polyfest, the largest Māori & Pacific Island’s cultural festival in the world. In this festival our students compete with Pasifika students who are much older in Years 9 to 13, and from much larger schools. Our Tongan students in Fonuamalu have had particular success in the Tongan speech section of the ASB Polyfest in 2009 and 2010. With the ability now to retain our Pasifika students through to Year 13 we expect to be fully involved in senior level Performing Arts.