The Girls in the Kapa Haka

Tahi, rua, toru, wha!

Join in with this readaloud celebration of kapa haka! New Zealand’s favourite story celebrating the Maori performing art of kapa haka is great for the whanau to read together.

These are the poi that circled and twirled
above the heads of the singing girls
who wore the piupiu that swished and swirled,
made from the flax that Koro cut,
that the mussel shell scraped,
that the kuia made,
that swung from the hips
of the girls in the kapa haka.


Written by Angie Belcher and illustrated by Debbie Tipuna

$21.00 incl. GST

Out of stock

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Originally published in 2006, The Girls in the Kapa Haka has been reissued, ready for a new generation of aspiring performers. The Girls in the Kapa Haka won the Gaelyn Gordon Award for a much-loved book.


NZ Booklovers ~ This clever story follows the life of a piupiu, worn by the girls who sing in a kapa haka group. Author Angie Belcher was inspired to write the story after watching on of the village kuia making piupiu and, later on, watching the children from Maketu School kapa haka group perform on their local marae.

Illustrator Debbie Tipuna drew on her experiences as a student at Waiariki Polytechnic to create the illustrations. There she developed her love of Māori arts, learned to weave flax, and learned that poi was not her speciality. Her illustrations utilise bright and bold colours, with lots of inspired patterns. Different perspectives add to the lyrical nature of the story – with close ups of swishing piupiu and swinging poi. It’s also a nice touch to see various bodies illustrated within the pages, allowing every child to imagine themselves as part of a kapa haka group. There are boys with long hair, pale skin, red hair, and girls with short hair, among other bodies, all represented within the pages.

About the Kiwi author

Angie Belcher
Photo: Bruce Barnard

Angie Belcher is a writer and a teacher from Māketu in the Bay of Plenty. Find out more on her author page.

Additional information

Dimensions22.7 × 19 cm
First published



Softcover edition



Page count


Published by

Puffin Books, an imprint of Penguin

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