Hec Busby

‘Hec’ Busby made a Knight in 2018 Queen’s Birthday Honours

Hekenukumai Puhipi (Busby) can keep a secret.

Late last week even his family remained unaware he was about to be knighted, and he and the few who were in the know were anxious the news should not leak before the embargo was lifted at 5am today.

The first thing Busby said when he did talk about being named a Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours was that it was an honour to be shared with his late wife Hilda, who died 22 years ago.

“We worked together for our people for years,” he said.

Busby, who will celebrate his 86th birthday on August 1, began earning his international reputation as a master waka builder and navigator in 1990, when he built the double-hulled Te Aurere (although he had built a less ambitious waka the year before, for the 1990 Waitangi celebrations).

He had worked hard to develop the skills required to build waka that would not only float but would be stable, and there had never been any “trouble” on any of the voyages his craft had sailed over many thousands of miles of open sea.

“Someone has been looking after us,” he said.

It was an invitation from John Rangihau, who Busby said he regarded as prophet, to travel to Hawaii in 1984 that was the “beginning of everything,” however. Work was well under way there to restore the ancient craft of building and sailing waka, and when he was asked to name a New Zealander who might be interested, Rangihau had no hesitation in nominating Busby.

Before that he had established a reputation in the Far North as a builder of bridges. He had built about 200, he said, about 150 in what was the Mangonui County and as far south as Waipū.

Now he was building bridges between the past and the future, and the peoples of Aotearoa.

His service to Māori goes even further. He has been involved in various leadership and committee positions with organisations including the Waitangi National Trust, the Polynesian Voyaging Society in Hawaii, and Te Tai Tokerau Māori District Council. He maintains roles as senior adviser to his iwi (Te Rarawa, Ngāti Kahu, Te Aupouri, Ngāti Kuri and Ngāpuhi).

He is a kaumatua for Māori Tourism in Northland, remains a member of the Waitangi Day Organising Committee after 36 years, and continues to be involved with waka activities during Waitangi Day commemorations.

He was bestowed with a Te Wananga o Awanuiarangi Honorary Doctorate in Māori Development last year. In 1994 he was named a Member of the Order of the British Empire, and in 2014 as an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit.

He was also awarded the New Zealand 1990 Commemoration Medal.

Originally featured in the Northern Advocate, Monday, 4 June 2018, 5:11 am

Duo - No Credit Giorgia Davies and Israel Reid and soloist Huia Shortland

Huia takes third win at Northland’s Smokefreerockquest regional finals

Live music, original songs, and stage nerves were all part of the mix at Forum North in Whangarei on May 26 in this year’s Smokefreerockquest Northland heats.

The event was one of a number of nationwide heats which will see over 800 bands and solo/duos in over 20 venues from Invercargill to Whangarei  contest for their position in the finals in Auckland in September.

The top two Northland solo/duos selected in Whangarei were Huia Shortland from Te Kapehu Whetu – Teina school, Whangarei (first) and No Credit (Giorgia Davies and Israel Reid) from Kerikeri High School.

I write about the little experiences we have every-day, and I think I stood out to the judge because my song was very honest and to the point

Whangarei Tangata Beats winners; Harmonies Divergent – Danika Holland (keyboard), Dana Scott (guitar),Mihitaurangi Koperu (guitar, vocals) and Jade Norman (vocals).

For singer-songwriter and guitarist Huia Shortland, this is her fifth Smokefreerockquest, and her third win in the solo-duo category for the region. Despite her success, she does not go in expecting to win.

The 15-year-old said “I write about the little experiences we have every-day, and I think I stood out to the judge because my song was very honest and to the point, came from my heart I guess.”


Teen soloist hits the winning note at Smokefreerockquest

The Smokefree Tangata Beats Award went to Harmonies Divergent, from Bay of Islands College.

The band members are Danika Holland (keyboard), Dana Scott (guitar), Mihitaurangi Koperu (guitar, vocals) and Jade Norman (vocals).

Koperu offered some advice for future participants in SmokefreeTangata Beats: “If you ever want to do something like this just believe in yourself, and then do it.”

Smokefree Tangata Beats recognises and reflects the unique cultural identity of Aotearoa New Zealand and the Pacific.

The top 12 bands selected will play off at the Northland regional final at Forum North, on June 22 – two will be selected for the finals.

The top regional bands and solo/duos submit footage for selection as finalists to play at the Smokefree Tangata Beats national final on September 21 in Auckland, followed by the Smokefreerockquest national final on September 22.


Originally featured in Stuff, Wednesday, 30 May 2018, 4:30 pm

Article written by: Annette Lambly
Photo: Duo – No Credit Giorgia Davies and Israel Reid and soloist Huia Shortland. 



Te Kāpehu Whetū ranked top two in Northland

The latest University Entrance results as published by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority show a Northland charter school (with a 100% Maori roll) ranks in the top two in the region.

Te Kapehu Whetu – Terenga Paraoa is outperforming most other private and public schools in Northland in UE success and is well above the New Zealand average for UE pass rates.

It’s abundantly clear that charter schools work for Maori students. This school’s 2017 University Entrance results are the second highest in Northland and well above the New Zealand average.

E Tipu e Rea Chief Executive Graeme Osborne says ‘how can anyone believe that closing the second best high school for University Entrance in Northland is in the best interests of student success and wellbeing. This charter school’s University Entrance results are well above the New Zealand average and show that the school is working for its 100% Maori students. It’s abundantly clear that charter schools work for Maori students. This school’s 2017 University Entrance results are the second highest in Northland and well above the New Zealand average. Why shouldn’t younger Maori students be given the same opportunity to achieve at this school?”

The graph below shows the top five Northland schools, ranked by 2017 UE success.

Northland University Entrance Results 2017



Originally featured in Scoop, Monday, 30 April 2018, 1:10 pm

Photo: Te Kapehu Whetu perform at Te Tai Tokerau Festival 2018. Photo / Elisa Kawiti


Hadassah Wharawhara

Northland schoolgirl headed to parliament to join new Youth Advisory Group

Northland schoolgirl Hadassah Wharawhara was one of 12 young people selected to be a member of the new Ministry of Education Youth Advisory Group.

The group has been set up to enable young people to have their say and have more input on the education system and issues that affect them.

Topics the ministry expected the group to cover included the future of work, student well-being, education, mental health, perspectives on technology and the use of digital tools in learning and assessment.

The group will meet quarterly, in the third week of every term at the Ministry of Education in Wellington.

Hadassah is in Year 12 at Te Kāpehu Whetū partnership school in Whangarei.

“It’s really important for youth to have a say, a lot of the policies that are being created affect us firsthand so having a youth voice is key.”

She said her school had been very supportive, and she was excited to make a meaningful contribution.

“I’m the only student from the far North.

“I’m just doing this on behalf of my school and for Northland, and it’d be great for more Northland kids that want to do this, and proving that they can do it and anything else is possible.

“It’s really important for youth to have a say, a lot of the policies that are being created affect us firsthand so having a youth voice is key.”

Minister of Education Chris Hipkins said he will attend the orientation and the group meetings where possible.

When he couldn’t attend he said he would Skype in on the meeting.

An experienced youth facilitator selected by Ministry of Education officials will be present at each meeting.

Mr Hipkins expected the group to offer fresh perspectives and valuable insights about education.

“I want our young people to have a say in the way our education system works and the Youth Advisory Group provides an exciting opportunity for young New Zealanders to get involved in the decision-making.

“I am looking forward to working with this inspiring group of young people, hearing about their experiences of our education system, and how they think we can improve it.”

Insights from this group will be shared with the Ministry of Education and other education sector agencies.



Originally featured in the Northern Advocate, Monday, 23 November, 2017
by Charlotte Carter

Photo: Te Kapehu Whetu Partnership School student Hadassah Wharawhara has been selected for a Youth Advisory Group with the Ministry Of Education. Photo / John Stone


NZ Provincial Barbarians officially welcomed to Whangarei

Te Kapehu Whetu and Whangarei have welcomed the New Zealand Provincial Barbarians to Northland ahead of their clash with the British and Irish Lions.

The charter school performed a beautiful waiata and a rousing haka to the Barbarians side, with Whangarei Mayor Sheryl Mai welcoming them to town.

Barbarians and Northland loose forward Matt Matich said he had never experienced a welcoming quite like it.

“The first part of it was really quite intense, almost intimidating. There was a lot of passion showing and some beautiful voices in there,” he said.

“I don’t know if I’ve had a powhiri this powerful before, there was so much of energy behind it. The boys definitely enjoyed it.”

We have a helluva lot of young players wanting to become Super players who will announce themselves to the world on Saturday

Roger Randle

The Barbarians squad were training earlier in the day at Marist RFC Park in what was their third day together as a squad.

Matich said the squad is in great spirits ahead of the enormous fixture.

“We’re feeling pretty positive. Obviously we’ve identified the Lions have a strong scrum, but we’re definitely not going in like we are going to lose in that area,” he said.

“We’re trying to figure out how we can win the scrum. There’s a whole lot of positivity and that’s what we need if we want to go in and win this one.

“No one goes out there to lose obviously.

“As an individual it’s a huge opportunity especially for us guys who aren’t fully contracted.

“We’re just on three month contracts so it’s a huge opportunity to get exposure in New Zealand and overseas.”

Barbarians assistant coach Roger Randle concurred with Matich, saying they aren’t going into the match to make up numbers.

“We’re New Zealand rugby players, every New Zealand team has that winning mentality built in,” he said.

“We’re not going out there to come off second best but we’re well aware of the challenges we face with the calibre of players that are coming.

“We’ve got a great bunch of guys in our group. We have a couple of experienced guys who have been at the Super level and we have a helluva lot of young players wanting to become Super players who will announce themselves to the world on Saturday.”

Randle said the excitement was bubbling within the unit and they were wary of overplaying their hand.

“We’re just trying to throw a simple plan together, trying to not complicate things.

“There are challenges with not spending a heap of time together but we knew that going in so it’s not really something we’ve spoken about other than when we first came together.

“We’ll just try to keep things simple but throw in a bit innovation.

“It’s been a long time coming; we’ve been in preparation for months as a group.

“We’re massively excited.”


Originally featured in the Northern Advocate, Monday, 29 May, 2017
by Andrew Johnsen

Photo: Te Kapehu Whetu students perform an intimidating haka to welcome the New Zealand Provincial Barbarians to Whangarei. Photo/John Stone


Huia wins Smokefree Rockquest 2017 Solo/Duo Northland Regional Heats

Huia Shortland looks set for solo success after taking out the Smokefreerockquest solo/duo title last night (Friday) at the Northland regional heats at Forum North on Friday. She won the national Smokefree Pacifica Beats solo/duo title last year in a duo with her cousin Izaia Tilialo, who has now left school.

Fourteen year old Huia who is in year 10 at Te Kapehu Whetu Teina plans to make music her career but was very surprised with her win last night.

“I really didn’t expect to win Smokefreerockquest as I was also entered in Pacifica Beats,” she said. “My songs are a bit funkier and groovy than the reggae sound I do with Izaia and I think it might have been that genre that made me stand out.”

Mollie Harvey from Rodney College came second, while third place went to Dani Ngakuru-Smith. These three solo-duos now put 15 mins of their best material together to submit for selection as national finalists.

The winners of Smokefree Pacifica Beats for Northland were Barry & Te Rina from Whangaroa College, who are Barry Jubei and Te Rina Kahle. They submit 15 minutes of their best material for selection as Smokefree Pacifica Beats national finalists.

The 12 top bands selected at the heats will go on the play off for the top two places and other awards at the Northland final at Forum North on Saturday 1 July at 7pm. Tickets are available from Ticketek. The 12 bands selected to go on to the final are:

H.K.A. Broadwood Area School, Panguru Area School

Weevils Rodney College

Jinx Springbank School

Denial Kerikeri High School

Mad Gravity Whangarei Girls’ High School, Huanui College

The Pastie Boys Tauraroa Area School

Theoretically Impossible Kerikeri High School

LIVEWIRE Mahurangi College

A08 Kamo High School

Room 44 Whangarei Girls’ High School

Mic’s Mates Huanui College

JKA zzz TKKM o Te Tonga o Hokianga

Founder and director Glenn Common said the level of performance at the heats seems to keep going up every year as entrants get more support for contemporary music from their schools, make use of on line resources and have role models who have used Smokefreerockquest as a springboard to success.

“Between now and the regional final their preparation work is part of the process that makes Smokefreerockquest and Pacifica Beats such valuable learning experiences for young people,” he said. “The 12 bands going on to the finals need to practise hard, craft their set, get their supporters rallied and make good use of networking opportunties and social media to promote themselves and their achievements. For a lot of students these steps can be part of their NCEA assessments.”

The regional events for both Smokefreerockquest and Smokefree Pacifica Beats run from May 12 until July 7, with the top regional bands and solo/duos submitting video footage for selection to play off at the Smokefree Pacifica Beats national final on Friday September 1 at the Dorothy Winstone Centre in Auckland, followed by the Smokefreerockquest national final on Saturday September 2.

Smokefreerockquest, powered by Rockshop, has national winners’ prize packages for bands and solo/duo winners that include $22,000 in Rockshop vouchers, a $16,000 NZ On Air recording, video and promo package a ‘Decent Exposure’ campaign on The Edge TV, and a photo shoot and branding package from Imaginary Friends. There is also the MAINZ (Music and Audio Institute of New Zealand) Scholarship for Outstanding Musicianship, the APRA Lyric Award, the Lowdown Best Song Award, Smokefree Vocals Award, and the People’s Choice voted by text with the opportunity to open the Smokefreerockquest national final.

Musical successes from Smokefreerockquest over its 28-year history include Broods, Leroy Clampitt, Kimbra, Aaradhna, Opshop, Evermore, Ladyhawke, Kids of 88, Die!Die!Die!, Joel Little, Tiny Ruins, Marlon Williams, Brooke Fraser, Anika Moa, Kora, Thomston, Midnight Youth, Steriogram, Phoenix Foundation, Devilskin, The Black Seeds, Bic Runga, and The Naked and Famous; Smokefree Pacifica Beats standout successes include Nesian Mystik, the only New Zealand band to ever have ten singles all certified gold or platinum.


Originally featured in Scoop Culture, Monday, 22 May, 2017
Smokefree Rockquest Press Release

overseas exchange

Students hope overseas exchange will help with future goals

Three Northland students who will be going on overseas exchanges next year say they are excited to become immersed in other cultures and hope it will help with their future aspirations.

While other students will be heading to university next year, Te Kapehu Whetu students Aotea Parata, Grace Barry and Hineira Komene will be heading overseas on a year-long Rotary Youth Exchange.

Aotea is going to Sao Paulo, Brazil; Grace is going to Bornheim, Germany; and Hineira is heading to St Gallen, Switzerland.

The 17-year-olds said for them the exchange is more than just a chance to travel, it is an opportunity for them to learn a third language, get to know the indigenous people and compare Maori culture, to other cultures.

“We’re indigenous people ourselves, being Maori…I think it’s important embrace other cultures. Especially when you hear other places have lost their language, we know how lucky we are,” said Aotea.

“We can’t just limit ourselves to our own culture we have to broaden our perspective and open our mind,” said Grace.

Both Grace and Hineira want to become involved in the United Nations in the future and are hoping what they learn overseas will help them achieve this goal.

“I’m hoping by learning another language and being immersed in a different culture it will help with my future aspirations of being involved in the United Nations,” Grace said.

“I’m similar. I’ve always wanted to do international mediation to help prevent conflict in countries. That’s why I wanted to pursue a career in the UN. I’ve been gravitating towards Indigenous cultures. This will broaden my perspective,” Hineira said.

In preparation for their exchange the trio have been trying to learn as much about their host country as possible.

The group, who will head off in January, say they are excited but nervous.

“I think this trip will help me become more independent and self sufficient because I’m quite a dependent person. That’s why I’m pushing myself to stay the whole year,” said Hineira.

“We’ve already started placing bets on how long I’ll last,” said Grace.


Originally featured in the Northern Advocate, Monday November 7, 2016
By Mikaela Collins

Photo: Te Kapehu Whetu students Grace Barry, Hineira Komene and Aotea Parata are excited to embrace other cultures when they head on a year-long overseas exchange next year. Photo  / John Stone


Paora Allen

Nga Manu Korero gives young people a voice

Paora Allen says it was “pretty special” to stand on stage and represent Te Tai Tokerau at an event he says gives young people a voice.

The 17-year-old student from Te Kapehu Whetu represented Northland in the Korimako (Senior English) category at the Nga Manu Korero National Secondary School Speech Contest, along with Rehia Nikora-Rameka from Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Kaikohe who represented the region in the Pei Te Hurinui Jones – Senior Maori category.

The Te Tai Tokerau speakers were two of 30 from around the country who stood in front of thousands at Whangarei’s ASB Stadium yesterdayrepresenting their regions in an impromptu section, and in the prepared speech section.

Mr Allen said the standard of competition at the national event was high and said it was a great promoter of te reo Maori.

“It gives us young people an opportunity to have a voice and it puts forward a good face for Maori. Maori can get a lot of bagging sometimes but this is really positive,” he said.

Mr Allen said in preparation for the event he spent weeks ensuring he knew his speech well.

“I probably put in three weeks until I had it down in my head but then I really tried to get it down with actions,” he said.

The Year 13 Contest will continue tomorrow with the Ta Turi Kara (Junior English) and the Ta Rawhiti Ihaka – Junior Maori sections”.

“Especially because I just came up from Auckland to Te Tai Tokerau this year. It’s not only representing your area but your whanau,” he said.

The 2016 Nga Manu Korero National Secondary School Speech Contest will continue tomorrow with the Ta Turi Kara (Junior English) and the Ta Rawhiti Ihaka – Junior Maori sections.

To view a livestream of the event visit http://tehiku.nz/nmk16.


Originally featured in the Northern Advocate, Thursday September 22, 2016
By Mikaela Collins

Photo: Paora Allen, from Te Kapehu Whetu, represented Northland at the Korimako (Senior English) category at the Nga Manu Korero National Secondary School Speech Contest. Photo  / Michael Cunningham


Paetawhiti Sports Day

Years 7 and 8 had their winter sports day at Kensington Stadium yesterday (May 24). Awesome results. Basketball won all their games; soccer won three, drew one; netball won two, lost one; ripper rugby won all their games.

Original Puts Cousins into Final

Two Whangarei cousins may be the next Smokefreerockquest success story after taking out the solo/duo title at the Northland Rockquest heats on Saturday (21/05/2016).

Izaia Tilialo (17) a former Te Kāpehu Whetū student, and Huia Shortland (13) from Te Kāpehu Whetū’s Paetawhiti have been singing and playing guitar together for two years and their success at Forum North on Saturday has seen them go straight into the national final.

Go here for more.

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