Standing out from a record number of entries, Hato Pāora College student, Nikau Te Huki’s song Now or Never has won the senior category in the annual SINGout4JUSTICE song writing competition. Responding to the theme “The Time is Now!” that was set by competition organisers Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand, the Year 12 student highlighted the importance of an immediate response to issues facing the earth and people around the globe in his funky, contemporary song.

“Being a teenager living in such a privileged land and having my first world country try to protect me from the troubles of the outside world angered me,” said Nikau.

“I feel like I can’t do a single thing to help the people I see on the news at night dying for no reason, or from warfare and poverty. All of these things inspired and encouraged me to write this song.”

Hato Pāora, near Feilding, was the only school to have two finalists in the song writing competition, and Year 13 student Ihaia Ropata was also highly commended for his song Your Own, which is dedicated to child abuse victim Moko Rangitoheriri.

The song challenges listeners to raise a hand to a child only in love.

Caritas staff presented the awards to the Hato Pāora students on Sunday, July 24.

This was as Hato Pāora students prepare to compete on the national stage at the National Secondary Schools Kapahaka Competition in Hastings.

The SINGout4JUSTICE competition for students is divided into a junior (Years 7-10) and senior section (Years 11-13), and the aim is to encourage young people to consider ways their song can  express empathy for people in need. Each winner also receives $500 in prizes that will contribute to their musical development.

“It is important to ensure that the voices of young people are heard by decision makers and the wider public,” says Caritas director Julianne Hickey.

The joint winners of the junior category are Anna Tukuitoga from St Joseph’s Catholic School in Paeroa and Naia Alkhouri from St Francis De Sales in Wellington.

The winning songs can be heard on the Caritas website www.caritas.org.nz/singout4justice

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