The Alexandra community came together for an early Matariki celebration last week.

Hangi, kapa haka and paraoa parai (fried bread) were all on offer at Dunstan High School for the second annual celebration of the Maori New Year.

Year 13 pupil Myah Turnbull, who helped organise the event, said she was pleased with the turnout.

‘‘It’s been awesome. We’ve had so many people and it’s awesome to see.’’

Planning had been under way since the start of the year, with efforts ramped up in the last month.

‘‘It’s been a lot of preparation but it’s turned out really well,’’ Myah said.

Arts and craft, food stalls, hangi, kapa haka and music performances from pupils were all part of the celebrations.

Myah, who is also a Pou Maori representative on the senior pupil executive, said the celebration was important to raise the profile of the holiday.

‘‘I think it’s really important for the community to know this is a public holiday now, and we would love for more people next year.

‘‘It’s already grown since last year so it’s been really cool to see so many people.

Dunstan High School te reo teacher Johni Retune said the turnout from the locals had been great.

‘‘It has been really awesome to see a lot of the community,’’ Mr Retune said.

‘‘It’s gone really really well.

‘‘There’s been a lot of preparation involved in this. We’ve spent the last four weeks practising how to make fried bread properly . . .and really prepping for the hangi, which a lot of our year 13 will get credits for it.’’