SG youths perform Waiata to thank flight crew for bringing them home

Showing support for our SIA crew during this pandemic.

Anis Nabilah

Published: 27 March 2020, 7:13 PM

On the last Singapore Airlines flight out of New Zealand, a group of Singaporean students performed a song and dance for the few people on their flight back home.

Romaine Lee, Cherie Wong, Courtney Lim, Timothy Ching, Haruka Chan, and Zi Yue Woo performed their school’s Waiata (Maori for song or chant) to thank and show support to the Singapore Airlines crew. The group studies contemporary dance and classical ballet full-time at the New Zealand School of Dance in Wellington.

Since Singapore Airlines has cut its flights due to lowered demand for air travel as a result of COVID-19, this final flight out of New Zealand was described as a rescue flight to get a small group of Singaporeans home.

The moving video of the dancers performing the Waiata was posted onto their school’s Facebook and Instagram pages. It has garnered many positive comments, with many praising the “beautiful” Waiata.

On Facebook, one commenter said: “Wow absolutely beautiful!!! Humbling to see them honour our Tangata Whenua! All the very best to them and their Whanau during this tough time for all of us! Blessings to the crew for taking them home to their families!!!”

One of the students, Romaine, shared with Youth.SG that she was pleased the video could make someone’s day.

The 17-year-old said: “Though I am not a New Zealand citizen, I feel immense pride whenever I perform Maori Waiatas. When I was learning them at school, I would always dream of returning home and sharing it with my family in person. To see the video circulate provoking positive responses, it is like that dream tenfold.”


Romaine hopes the act of gratitude reminds everyone to remain grateful and strong in these tough times. PHOTO CREDITS: MERV KWOK


Romaine said that a flight attendant jokingly suggested they “perform a dance” after finding out the youths were full-time dance students. The teens then made the collective decision to perform their school’s Waiata after fellow schoolmate Courtney Lim’s suggestion.

She recounted: “[The crew members] really went out of their way to make sure our long-haul flight was enjoyable and comfortable… In that moment, it seemed perfect that as dance students we used dance to express our thanks to the caring flight crew.”

The video has even gotten attention from Singapore’s Speaker of Parliament, Tan Chuan Jin.

He has shared the video to his Facebook page and said that, “These youths rock! Not just because of their performance. But their sense of gratitude.”

Facebook user Jennifer Kee commented on his post: “Grateful that our country is doing its [utmost] best to bring Singaporeans home regardless of costs. Thank you SQ for putting Singaporeans first before your own balance sheets.”

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