10-year-old uses dancing to overcome bullying

By Regan Paranihi

Māori Samoan hip hop dancer, Kaea Southon (Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāti Porou), has used her passion for dancing to overcome a trying time in her young life.

At the age of eight, Southon fell victim to bullying, resulting in her moving schools.  

Now at the age of 10 she is one of the top dancers in NZ, Australia, and America in her age group and her talent has become a safe haven for the young star.

"I started doing it because I was a really shy girl at school and so my parents put me into dance.  It's really fun and its my biggest passion," says Southon.

She says dancing has been her fuel to overcome one of the hardest experiences shes had to face to date.

"Its helped me grow with my confidence, I just feel really comfortable when I dance, I don't really think about anything.  I just dance and I feel free."

Her mother, Leone Southon, says that dancing has given Southon another voice.

"I've watched her grow from this very withdrawn little girl to watching her on stage dancing and her confidence has just gone through the roof," she says.

"I felt like dance was definitely the outlet for her that was going to help her, well, I hoped it was going to help her move forward."

Southon now helps other tamariki who may be in a similar situation through the art of dance.

"I teach dance classes in New Zealand and they really enjoy it."

While dancing is her number one passion, Southon and her family have started another venture that she is very passionate about.  She now has a brand of socks.

"Shoes and socks are my favorite part of how I dress and my mum and my dad were talking about how much I love socks so they really wanted me to have my own sock brand so I can inspire other little kids."

Southon is currently preparing for her next competition in the Sunshine Coast next month.