Arrowtown karate kid singing for her sushi


Arrowtown karate kid Anna Leat has hit the streets to raise funds to compete in a top international contest in Japan.

The talented seven-year-old has been selected to represent New Zealand at the tournament in Fukuoka in February.

And Anna’s been gathering in cash for the trip by chopping out songs as a busker around the Wakatipu.

“People are just so taken with Anna when they see her out singing with her guitar,” says mum Jackie. “It was all her own idea and wherever she goes now she wants to busk.

“She can do about an hour of Kiwi classics and other tunes.

“But her favourite song of the moment is Grandma’s Got Run Over By A Reindeer, which seems to be going down well.”

The youngster started karate just two years ago under Arrowtown sensei Glenn Hardinge, and the orange belt has won almost every competition she’s entered since.

Anna qualified for the prestigious tournament in the Far East after winning the NZ Open in the under-eight girls’ division in Christchurch in April.

Mum Jackie – a purple belt herself – will make the trip to Fukuoka with Anna, where she’ll join 1300 competitors from around the globe.

“Financially it’s a big call to make and we’re raising funds through not just the busking but with sausage sizzles over the summer and a raffle,” she says.

“But it’s an experience I wouldn’t want Anna to miss as she’ll be working and mixing with some of the best in the sport.

“She’s really excited and is now saying she one day wants to be the world champion.”

Leat reckons one reason for her daughter’s success is training and practising with her big brother Michael, also a karate orange belt.

“Anna’s the biggest tomboy this side of the black stump,” says her mum. “She’s been used to keeping up with her brother and his mates so her benchmarks are 10-year-old boys.

“When she goes to tournaments and comes up against seven-year-old girls, she’s already been trained harder and faster than them.”