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Apr 112019

Kuranui College is once again through to the National finals of the University of Otago Sheilah Winn Shakespeare Festival after winning the 15-minute scene in the Wairarapa Regional heat last night.

Performing The Tempest to a full house, the students explored the power relationship between Prospero and Ariel.

Hayden Tankersley played Prospero, the wizard, which is quite fitting given his interest in clowning and doing magic tricks. “I started acting in primary school, just a little bit. The thing I’ve spent longest doing is the clowning and circus stuff,” he explained. “Years ago, for Christmas, my sister got a diablo.  A couple of years after that we found it in the shed, and I gave it a go. Within ten to fifteen minutes I had already learnt more than my sister had. It sort of built up from there, so I went from the diablo to devil sticks, and then learning how to juggle.”

“I regularly go to the Carterton School gala, and I do birthday parties and markets quite often.”

Shakespeare 2

Year 13 student Hayden Tankersley plays Prospero in Kuranui’s exploration of The Tempest.

Although the year 13 student has performed Shakespeare since year 9, this was his first year performing in the competition. “I’ve been involved with college productions, circus and clowning, and other dramatic things within school and I’m hoping to go to National Academy of Singing and Dramatic Art (NASDA) next year.”

During his time at the college, Tankersley has acted with AJ Southey and looks up to the former Kuranui student and this year’s attendee at the Young Shakespeare Company at the Globe in London. “AJ’s great. He’s been coming in for the past week to help us with our 15-minute scene.”

Year 12 student Florence Cater was also awarded the choreography award for the performance. Her passions are both acting and dancing, and she’s been the recipient of awards in numerous dance and drama competitions.

Cater has been working with her dance teacher outside of school around four years. “My interest in drama was originally from my older brother, who did drama at Kuranui, and I have been dancing since I was three, dancing four times a week outside of school. My mum was a dance teacher,” she explained. “Now most of my inspiration comes from my drama teacher Mrs McLellan.”

“I’ve been doing drama and dance at Kuranui since year 9, so I’ve been just working my way up with the other seniors and taking opportunities when they come.”

Shakespeare 1

Florence Cater and her Ariel dancers.

The Tempest certainly proved to be a bit of challenge for Cater. Apart from Prospero played by Tankersley, the rest of the students played Ariel, the wind spirit, an interesting concept and testament to Cater’s skill with choreography. “The character of Ariel is not human. We had to make her look like she was not human, so we had to make movements which were flowing and quite different, and a bit obscure.”

Florence was also awarded the Greytown Little Theatre Scholarship today in assembly, worth $400 for her contribution and work with them.

The college will represent Wairarapa at the event held in Wellington over Queen’s Birthday weekend, which involves two days of performances from students from around the country; 24 student-directed 5-minute and 24 teacher-directed 15-minute pieces. There are also workshops with industry professionals in everything from dance, voice and delivery of text, to movement, mime and comedy.

University of Otago Sheilah Winn Shakespeare Festival results:

Winner 15-minute scene: The Tempest Kuranui College
Winner 5-minute student-directed scene: King Lear Wairarapa College (Jackson Burling Director)
Direct entry to the National Shakespeare in Schools Programme: Jacob Osbourne (Henry Bolingbroke) Rathkeale College
SCA cup for Delivery of Text: Brooke Robertson (Cordelia) Wairarapa College
Barbara Vincent Memorial Shield for Comic Role: Nicholas Penman (Petruchio) Chanel College

The Assessor’s other Awards were :

Best Sound Effects: Henry V Rathkeale  College
Choreography: Florence Cater Kuranui College
Best  Fight Scene: Romeo and Juliet Wairarapa College
Best Death Scene: James Graham ( Thisbe) Chanel College
Comic Timing:  Midsummer Night’s Dream Greytown Primary School
The Macbeth Trio: Macbeth Solway College

Apr 102019

Kuranui College student Nina Gelashvili is through to the semi-finals of the Race Unity Speech Awards after topping the Wellington Regional Championships at the weekend.

Ten students from across the region had to deliver a 7-minute speech about racism in New Zealand, including answering at least two questions and quoting a proverb from their faith or our culture.

Nina, a year 12 student, is Samoan and quoted a favourite Samoan proverb ‘Ņa o le gata e fasia, ae pupula one mata’ which translates to: ‘Only the snake will look at its killer’.

“I talked about our society. Will we be the snake who looks at racism and takes a stand and fights back, or will we be the snake which slithers under a rock?” explained Gelashvili. “We need to stop talking about it and discussing it, we already know what to do, so why aren’t we doing it?”

Her views on modern racism, and how society hides it from sight impressed her fellow speakers and the judging panel. “I talked about what happened in Christchurch, and how it shouldn’t take 50 lives for people to realise that racism still lives.”

Her ardor for the topic made it feel fluid and a lot easier for her to talk about it. “It’s been going on for so long and people need to come together and actually do something about it, because if we don’t, we’re heading in the wrong direction. We’re just going to keep repeating history and it won’t be very good for the upcoming generations,” commented Nina.

A passionate and talented speaker, Nina has performed outstandingly in other speech competitions in the Wairarapa, and is now taking her skills to a national level. Nina, along with Parekura Pepere from Rathkeale College who also placed in the competition, will be going through to the national semi-finals in Auckland on 10-11th of May.

Nina Gelashvili

Nina Gelashvili is through to the semi-finals of the Race Unity Speech Awards in May.

Apr 102019

Congratulations to the following players selected for the 2019 Kuranui Boys 1st XI Hockey Team:

Josh Taylor
Jarrod Yee
Jack Morgan
Jonty Spicer
Rhys Kill
Hamish Kill (GK)
Alex Mason (GK)
Sam Millar
Matthew Edwards
James Morland
Jayden Hume
Percy Harrison
Jack Campbell
(plus 3 players to be added)

Coaches: Andrew Hosnall, Bevan Morland
Manager: Donald Yee

Apr 082019

Kuranui students from the college’s senior 2OUT class and the junior Survivor class recently visited the multi-level aerial obstacle course at Adrenaline Forest in Porirua to put their survival skills to the test.

The three-hour session gave the students a chance to challenge themselves on all levels of the high ropes course, giving them an opportunity to strengthen their ‘soft skills’ through practical learning outside of the classroom.

Kuranui English teacher Chelsea Fenwick organised the Survivor course as part of Kuranui’s Ignite junior curriculum and thought the experience would be good for her junior students to practice some of the advanced ideas they had explored in the classroom. “In the course we look at the theme of survival and all of the different ways of looking at survival,” she explained.

“When I first surveyed the class at the beginning of the semester, surviving for them was being lost in the bush and having to find food and water. I wanted to show them that survival is also about surviving life, it’s about surviving your school years, about surviving your teenage years. So that might also mean surviving a difficult or challenging situation.

“The day was to help push ourselves outside of our comfort zone. Survive a challenging experience and to have fun,” she said.

High Ropes

Kuranui junior students prepare for the high ropes challenge.

The junior students joined senior students from the Level 2 outdoor education class 2OUT. “It was quite nice for the junior students to go along with the older students and interact with students of different ages to support one another. For the older students it was a good way to learn to encourage the younger ones.

“The Ignite program is providing junior students with these new kinds of opportunities, combining different curriculum subjects and placing them in a real-life context. The engagement from the students was amazing, as they had expected something like this from their PE course, not their English class,” added Fenwick.

“It gave the students an opportunity to implement our school values in a different setting. There was a lot of empathy. I heard students cheering and encouraging one another. They were all being really determined. Because it was hard. It was really hard. It was windy and they were having to apply and independently manage themselves. A lot of those soft skills and transferable skills came into play.”

Year 10 student Trinity Southey certainly agreed. “Putting yourself in a challenge that you weren’t expecting was really hard, so you actually had to try for it,” she said.

Fenwick also utilised the trip to support the development of the students’ curriculum skills. “We have studied short texts, looked at language features, and we are currently in the middle of a film study, looking at survival. Some really interesting stuff came out of our trip. I got the students to write their own permission slips and thank you letters to the staff afterwards,” she said.”

Apr 032019

Seven students from Kuranui College will be attending the annual National Youth Jazz Competition held in Tauranga in April.

The competition will feature bands from across the country and Kuranui music teacher Saali Marks believes it will be a wonderful opportunity for the young musicians. “As a fairly new band, I thought it would be a fantastic chance for our band members to see what other schools from outside of the Wairarapa are up to, and hopefully give them something to aspire to. They’ll meet some other young jazz musos and get a chance to strut their stuff!”

“The Kuranui jazz combo is called Kikorangi, meaning ‘Blue’ – in a reference to the roots of jazz music, the blues,” explained Marks.

Jazz Band 1

Kikorangi rehearse in the lead up to the National Youth Jazz competition

The band have quickly reached their fundraising goal of $2,000. “We owe a special thanks to the Acorn Trust, who have contributed to our travel costs to help us get to the competition.”

“We have also been doing some furious fundraising, and the band has already performed at Featherston’s First Friday at the start of the month, and busked at the Martinborough Fair,” said Marks.

Jazz Band 2

Rowan Higgins (Alto Sax), Alex Hartley (Alto Sax), Adam Butler (Alto Sax), Ririn Takana (Flute) Amethyst Sutherland (Bass)

Kuranui College’s Alex Hartley will be performing as one of the three saxophonists in Kikorangi and is looking forward to showing off the band’s talent. “I think it will be good for me as an individual, and the band as well. Good exposure, and a lot of fun!”

Hartley has been interested in music since a young age, but wasn’t interested in lessons until starting Kuranui College’s IGNITE program. “I guess I just started listening to music a lot more, and wondered how to make it. I was really little at the time, and I bought myself one of those tiny little guitars and I’ve just played ever since. I’ve never taken lessons, I’ve just taught myself.

“Guitar was my first instrument, and probably my best one, considering I’m still quite new to saxophone, but I’m really learning to love it.”

Jazz Band 3

Ririn Takana on flute

Hartley believes the passion and skill of the teachers at the college, and in particular Marks, has helped the band come this far. “The one musician we look upon like our idol is Mr Marks. He’s pushed us and we’ve done really well I reckon, everyone is getting along and it’s sounding really good.”

Hartley’s confidence embodies a keen Kuranui spirit, thinking of the festival as an opportunity to perform to the best of his ability, and learn everything he can. “We sound really good, and I’m pretty sure we’ll ace it. I think it will be great to see other people and how they perform, their style and skill, and just to learn off that,” he added.

Kikorangi are: Sasha Francis-Murray (Drums), Amethyst Sutherland (Bass), Ilias Hopkins (Guitar), Adam Butler (Alto Sax), Rowan Higgins (Alto Sax), Alex Hartley (Alto Sax) and Ririn Takana (Flute).

The 42nd National Youth Jazz Competition runs Friday 5 April to Saturday 6 April 2019, at Baycourt Community and Arts Centre, Tauranga.