Bicchū Kagura & Kapa Haka Exchange Project 2023

Project Title

Bicchū Kagura & Kapa Haka programme: How to pass on the traditional performing arts to children. Rongona me Kōrerotia

Estimated period

from August 11th to August 16th


Canterbury, New Zealand


Content of the project

A Bicchū Kagura group is coming to Aotearoa to share their traditional Japanese performing arts with a Kapa Haka group Te Pao a Tahu in person.

1. Both groups will be performing at a venue together in a joint performance with adults and children. The aim of this event is for kapa haka and Bicchū Kagura people to learn Japanese and Māori cultural aspects and language, they will be able to gain something similar and new.

2. The Kagura group will join a kapa haka wānanga to share children's games and perform with each other. This main aim and purpose is for the Kagura group to experience how a wānanga is run and how this traditional form of learning nurtures positive relationships between adults and children. By learning through "Rongona and Kōrerotia (hearing and talking)" everyone is involved together.

The Kagura group will be able to inspire and realise connection and commonality by the similar way of raising children through traditional arts and will be able to relate to how adults pass on traditional knowledge through verbal means, passing on the stories through the games. It is "rongona (hearing)" and "kōrerotia (talking, conversation and narrative)", but not reading or writing like the recent way of learning. Also the Kagura people will share their children's games with Māori children and adults at the wānanga, and have a chance to discuss the experience as well.

3. In Rolleston, the Kagura group will perform Kagura and have a workshop with Selwyn people at Te Ara Ātea.

4. If possible, the Kagura group will attend and maybe involved with the secondary school kapa haka event that is being held around this time.

5. Wherever possible, we want to share the events with other people through Zoom, for example, with the other Kagura members in Japan and supporters of Bicchū Kagura. And we could share some parts of the events on zoom with the local Bicchū supporters as well.

Who is intended audience and how will they benefit from the project?

The immediate intended audience is the kapa haka people, their whānau and friends, and Kagura people and family. During the public events there will be chances for the general public, school children and so on to watch and be involved as well. We Also aim to spread this wider on zoom or post event video so that a wider audience such as local Japanese people in Japan can see what we are doing through zoom and with the videos.

How will we measure the success of the project?

Success will be measured by the degree of mutual understanding and positive relationships formed by both groups through this event.

How the project will deepen understanding between Aotearoa and Japan on a broad educational and cultural basis?

Kanohi ki te kanohi (face to face) is the key for this project.

And Rongona and Kōrerotia (listen and talk).

Because of the disruptions from covid, face to face events between Aotearoa and Japan were not able to be done for the last three years. This programme aims to connect both cultures in person so both can experience and learn traditional cultural heritage that has been passed down the generations for a long time. It is naturally passed on by hearing the narrative stories from their ancestors.

We expect that the Kagura people would feel the same sense when they join the kapa haka wānanga as they do the similar events "gasshuku" which is a learning system staying overnight with the group which strengthens their bonding like eating together and helping each other. The education from learning the traditional way of learning is not written but hearing the narrative stories.