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Jun 122017

Kuranui College students were once again awarded the coveted Student Leadership Award at the recent Stage Challenge competition held at Te Rauparaha Arena in Porirua.

Out of a strong field of 16 schools from the Greater Wellington region, Kuranui came out on top for leadership. This is the only award that is presented to one school in each region and is testament to an established culture of student-led performances at the college.

Performance and arts teacher Juanita McLellan is understandably proud of the way her students consistently step up. “Last year Georgia Wilson was given the award for managing the highly successful ‘Tere te Tapahi’, and this year Charlotte Penman gained the award for overseeing the performance of 40 students and 30-odd helpers with ‘Weeping Waters’,” she said.

Kuranui Arts Students Take The Lead - Jessica Buckham, Juanita McLellan, Amber Spicer, Thomas Laybourn and Charlotte Penman

Jessica Buckham, Juanita McLellan, Amber Spicer, Thomas Laybourn and Charlotte Penman.

This award was one of eight awards out of a possible 10, including concept, drama, set, choreography, make-up and costume, and lighting and soundtrack.

During the same week, many of the students were involved in the Sheilah Winn Shakespeare finals, whilst also tackling their mock NCEA exams. A total of 32 students were involved in the performance and the group only had one rehearsal when everyone came together.

“The biggest challenge is everyone is so busy and they are all in everything, which is also pretty cool because they are all so keen to be involved,” added McLellan.

“No single person could put that scene together and we had great support from our local community, including Suzanne Murphy and Paora Ammunson.

“We also had a massive crew backstage on the night because it took half an hour to put on all the moko on the performers.

“The college has an introspective group of students and while lots of other schools were doing super violent, super intense and over the top funny scenes – ours was just this beautiful story.

“It really wasn’t about entering to win an award, it was more about telling a story that was important to hear.”

The students were given the Assessors Award for the integration of tikanga Māori into their performance of ‘Pericles’ and Kuranui Head Boy Thomas Laybourn was presented with an award for his outstanding performance in the supporting role of ‘Simondes’.