30 Jun 2014

Kapa Hapa good for elderly

10:35 am on 30 June 2014

An elder enthusiastic about kapa haka is encouraging Marae across the country to establish cultural groups for kaumatua to help kuia and koroua keep active.

A Kapa Haka Group perform during a gathering at Tikorangi.

A Kapa Haka Group perform during a gathering at Tikorangi. Photo: PHOTO NZ

Bill Nathan is a member of the Wellington roopu haka, Ngati Poneke Pakeke, which performed at this year's Kaumatua Kapa Haka festival at Te Papa Tongarewa over the weekend.

300 kaumatua from ten teams took part.

Mr Nathan said he encouraged Marae, which do not have a roopu haka for their kaumatua to create one, because the art of performing will benefit senior hapu members.

He said it was good for their balance because they were transferring weight from one leg to the other, while trying to keep in time with the beat.

Mr Nathan said waiata-a-ringa meant sometimes an elder may need to raise their arms up high, which may need more energy than what they use in the garden or around the house.

Bill Nathan suggested that kapa haka also helped kaumatua with their hearing because they have to focus on listening to their roopu leaders and the poi helps with hand co-ordination.