Erena Koopu – Te Ara i Whiti Artist 2023

Erena Koopu

Te Whānau a Apanui, Ngāti Awa

Kapa Haka: the good, the bad, and the ugly – and all it entails has shaped the person I am today. The focus, discipline, relationships, connections, work ethic, and the commitment – are all aspects I carry into my everyday life. Kapa Haka is far more than just performing, more than just competition, more than singing and swinging a poi. It’s not even just a lifestyle. For those of us who are ‘in it’ – IT IS LIFE! 

For me, kapa haka today is about the next generation, instilling in them the beauty of haka and reaffirming our rangatahi that they too can become amazing superheroes by practising in an art created for them.   

Although I am predominantly a painter, my creative practice has always had a beautiful way of being able to move fluidly from one medium to the other. Here I present, Kapa Haka and light for our tamariki.   

Te Ara i Whiti

Haka with the stars, 2023  

Haka with the stars celebrates the richness of Kapa Haka in Te Tairāwhiti. It acknowledges those who have left us the legacy of what kapa haka is today and celebrates kaihaka who have become todays superstars. This kaupapa also recognises some of Te Tairāwhiti’s kapa haka rōpu who have contributed to the growth of kapa haka.   

Haka with the stars is an interactive stage where our tamariki can perform, sing their hearts out, pūkana, haka, waiata and be one with our Tairāwhiti haka stars.   

This installation uses beautifully captured images by photographer Erica Sinclair 

You can find “Haka with the stars” at Te Ara i whiti from September 29 – October 8, 2023 at Kelvin and Marina Park.