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Paora Old Boys Choir Makes Stunning Debut Performance at Charity Event
 
18 August, 2003
On a very cool Sunday evening, typical of Wellington winters, 16 men, all Hato Paora Old Boys, arrived at St Peters and Pauls Catholic Church Johnsonville. They were there to support the Challenge 2000 Trust Charity. The Old Boys that had arrived however, were not just there to watch. They were there to perform.
 
They were the newly formed, Hato Paora College Old Boys Choir, comprising alumni spanning three decades: from the mid to late seventies (Luke Crawford, Roger Fitzgerald, Peter Kalivati, Henare Walmsley) the eighties (Hiiri Crawford, Rongo Larkin, Hone Tibble, Kiina Noema, Atawhai Tibble, Marlon Hepi) the mid to late eighites (Dempsey Broad, Waaka Poutu, Shane Peterson, Matthew Sword) and the nineties too (Moka Apiti, and Whaitiri Poutawa).
Paora Old Boys Choir Members
choirsmall.jpg
Challenge 2000 is a Johnsonville based, not for profit organisation that works with and assists 'at risk' youth. Due to Luke Crawford's role as a member on their Board, the Paora Old Boys Choir, established only 3 weeks earlier, had been invited to sing a few items.
 
After a quick waiata practice outside in the cold - a fine Hato Paora tradition - the Choir went inside the Church and took their seats. Luke commenced the evening's proceedings with a Whakatau, after which the Old Boys Choir stood up to sing "Paora Nau Ra!" After the local Priest blessed the gathering and the concert began. 
 
Traditonally, church youth gatherings have been the training grounds for future singers and actors, and this concert was no different. A number of young men and women, polynesian, Maori and pakeha, performed for the crowd and did an outstanding job.
 
Then the Old Boys were called to the stage.
 
There was a degree of apprehension amongst some.  The Choir had only been together since the middle of July. They had only had three practices with material that, for many, was new.
 
Yet for others, like Dempsey Broad, who had never been to a choir practice, it was just like being at school! (In fact, Dempsey was so confident, he placed himself in the middle of the front row!)

Choir Members Sneak in Quick Practice
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Waaka Poutu, Whaitiri Poutawa and Henare Walmsley

Luke gave a brief explanation and history of the College. He spoke of the vision of the original founding Marist Priests, Fr. Gupwell and others. He talked about the Marist Orders' committment and support for Maori education over the many years through establishing and managing the College. He reminded everyone of the impact Fr. Delaney had on the boys and their singing abilities.
 
Atawhai then took the role of MC and explained the meaning of each song, noting too the profound influence of Morv Simon on what is now know as the "Hato Paora sound".
 
The Choir warmed up with 'E Whawha'. Next was 'Inoi Koe'. Then they leaped into items from the late eighties - 'Tirohia' and 'Te Maori'.
 
Shane Peterson took the lead for 'Tirohia', making his Mother,  Father, wife and kids proud. Kiina Noema, rumoured then led Maranga Mai. For the grand finale, the Boys ended with 'E Tama' - a song written for Bishop Max's ordination as a Priest.
 
The crowd reaction was electric! The look on the Boys faces was one of pride and accomplishment.
 
After a number of other strong performances, including the excellent singing of Fr. Chris Skinner, the Karaoke Priest, the Boys returned to the stage to do the haka, 'Paikea'.
 
It was a great night. It was an amazing night. It was an awesome debut. The spirit of Hato Paora, and the Priests, Kaiako, Matua and others who built that College were present.
 
And the Old Boys all wait with baited breath for the next event.
 
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Porirua Mafia
porirua.jpg
Rongo, Dempsey, Con & Hiiri

 
 
THANKS FROM CHALLENGE 2000
 
Kia ora Koutou!
 
I have just spoken to Luke Crawford giving our heartfelt thanks for your participation in last nights events - we wanted to contact everyone and Luke said this is the best way - if you could pass this on to everyone it would be much appreciated!
 
 
 
 
 
Lots of good came from your presence last night - not only from the awesome singing but perhaps more importantly there were some of our Challenge kids in the audience - kids who have a pretty tough reality - who saw and felt the good. 
 
From the bottom of our heart - thank you....
 
... Once again, thank you - and we look forward to many more performances.
 
Helen Robinson
Challenge 2000
Johnsonville
WELLINGTON
(04) 477 0338
challenge2000@wnc.quik.co.nz
 
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