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. 


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

Enrolment Spaces Available for 2017

We have now settled our numbers for 2017 and have some places available in the following year levels: 

  • Paetata – Yr7 & Yr8, several places available 
  • Paetawhiti – Yr10 girls, limited places available 
  • Paerangi – Yr11 & Yr12, limited places available

2016 NCEA Results

Our kura is growing and at only 3 years old we have continuously striven to improve ourselves and our educational offering and employ committed staff. We demand high expectations of ourselves, ākonga and our whanau that ensures we continually do well academically. Our provisional 2016 NCEA roll based results results reflect this commitment:

Provisional 2016 NCEA Results

LevelTe Kāpehu Whetū (%)National Māori Avg. (%)National Average (%)
NCEA Level 185.7163.774.2
NCEA Level 281.4873.577.4
NCEA Level 382.3552.963.4
University Entrance58.8230.247.9

To apply for an enrolment space, please contact Christie in the front office for an enrolment form (or use the download button below) and to set up an interview c.jobe@mokonz.co.nz or Ph: 09 438 4228.

Download the Form2017 Enrolment (PDF, 650 KB)


2016 Te Tai Tokerau Regionals


Paetawhiti (year 7/8) competing at the recent Tai Tokerau Regional Competition at Te Rangianiwaniwa in Kaitaia. They performed well in their very first competition.


Paenuku (year 1-6) competing at the Taitokerau Regional Competition taking out first place and booking themselves  place at Nationals in 2017.


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


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