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Deputy head girl Jess Sara, left, head girl Kyla Wilson, head boy Millar Morton, and deputy head boy James Harvey. Photo: SUPPLIED

Head students blessed with ceremonial cloaks

Generations of Thames High School head students can now wear ceremonial cloaks in times of formality.
The kākahu cloaks were presented at an assembly on April 26 by Reverend Brendon Wilkinson to head boy Millar Morton, deputy head boy James Harvey, head girl Kyla Wilson and deputy head girl Jess Sara.

Thames High School te reo Māori teacher Rawinia McLean told The Profile the inspiration for the kākahu cloaks design was to unite Mana Whenua and Tangata o te Tiriti cultures and represent the school colours and the Thames environment.
“The kākahu are done in deep blue colours to represent our kura but also to reflect the environment of Thames itself being by the sea,” she said.
“The gold toned feathers [are to] denote land and to denote Mana Whenua in this area which also reflects in our Thames High School colours of navy blue and gold.
“It was about teaching our school community the beauty of what Māori has to offer, so we’ve taken our time to do that and we believe that our school and school community really understand that we’re ready to embrace it.” Rawinia said more kākahu were planned to be introduced later this year as well as locally made piupiu (skirts made of flax) which have been designed for the school’s Māori performing arts team. “Kākahu in the broader scheme is not just the feathered cloak but also a Māori performing arts costume as well.” she said.
“Eventually I would like one made for our principal as well so that it gets passed through principals.”
Thames High School head boy Millar Morton said being the first Thames High School head boy to wear the kākahu gave him a “real sense of pride”. “It made me feel very respected and hopefully that will open up younger years’ eyes of how important it is to be a senior leader and hopefully inspire them to be in that position one day,” he said.