Kapa Haka teacher Krystal Clarke (Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Kahungunu, Te Āti Haunui-a-Pāpārangi) was born and raised in Wainuiomata. Krystal was always drawn to the Kapa Haka scene. She was attracted by the sound, unity, fun, freedom and the opportunity to express herself and show-off her skills.
Previously Krystal has been the Māori Performing Arts tutor at Whitireia New Zealand and the star of the web series POLY MOVEMENT – KANIKANIKANI.
We caught up with her to talk about food, life, and the new Kapa Haka classes she’s teaching with Human Dance.
What’s your go-to takeaways order? Spice Trader’s Butter Chicken!
What’s something you’ve always wanted to try? I’ve always wanted to try something extreme such as sky diving or bungee jumping or something similar.
Who’s the most important person in your life? My nine month old son, of course. The birth of my son has brought a newfound inner-strength that I never knew I had in me. His love and presence has changed me in ways I could never describe and I’m super lucky to be his mum.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? Treat every person you meet as if they have a broken heart.
What’s your biggest regret? I think my biggest regret in general is forgetting to enjoy this thing we call “life”. From quite a young age, I started to take life quite seriously and forever kept myself busy with study, professional development, rehearsals, meetings etc. In the long run, all of these things have brought me to where I stand today BUT I wish somewhere along the line, I had learned to step back, be silly, make more mistakes and take time to enjoy my youth, my family and my friends by creating memories with them.
What are you listening to at the moment? L.A.B. – Yes I do
Why is Kapa Haka important? Kapa Haka for me is a learning tool.
Through the implementation of Kapa Haka, you have the opportunity to learn Te Reo Māori, genealogy, protocols, history, cultural-based fitness exercises and how to build long-lasting and healthy relationships. It has the ability to turn young boys and girls into confident, grounded men and women.
You get to test your coordination, memory and vocal and physical abilities. You get to explore a type of spirituality (do not confuse this with religion) that may move you to feel things you cannot explain. It is a safe space to be unapologetically YOU while learning how to work in a team.
Who are these new Kapa Haka classes for? And what will participants gain? You will gain as much as you are open to receiving. The classes I offer at Human Dance are for anyone who is looking to explore Māori culture in its many forms. Each block is four weeks long and focuses on a different aspect of Māori Performing Arts. My current block is based around Harakeke. Learners have had the opportunity to explore, create and perform with Poi Piu, learn about harvesting, preparation, tikanga and appropriate waiata and karakia.