Te Kapa Haka o Whangara mai Tawhiti, Hikurangi and Te Aitanga a Hauiti ki Uawa will represent Ngati Porou at the 2017 Te Matatini festival, in Heretaunga.
The three East Coast teams and Gisborne groups, Waihirere and Tu Te Manawa Maurea qualified to represent the Tairawhiti region at the Tamararo regional kapahaka competition, in April this year. Whangara mai Tawhiti placed first, Waihirere second, Hikurangi third, Tu Te Manawa Maurea fourth and Te Aitanga a Hauiti fifth.
Although kapa haka sweethearts Te Hokowhitu A Tu missed out on a coveted Te Matatini spot the Tokomaru Bay group has committed to support the Te Tairawhiti’s “top five,” says Te Hokowhitu A Tu tutor Tauira Takurua. “We can’t wait to support our teams from home and see them compete against the best 47 kapa haka teams from Aotearoa and Australia”, said Tauira. He was delighted to see Hikurangi return to the kapa haka stage after more than four decades.
The resurrection of Hikurangi was led by young people, who wanted to learn and perform the extensive repertoire of Hikurangi items, while composing new items that reflected and represented their understanding of their whakapapa, history and hapu identity. Securing a spot to compete at Te Matatini, was one of four objectives that the group set itself, when they started their campaign in late October 2015. Their first objective was to preserve the waiata and traditions of Hikurangi, secondly, extend and replenish their repertoire with a new generation of signature items and thirdly to grow their collective cultural capital to maintain and sustain the tikanga of their hapu and marae.
Hinetu Dell a former member of Hikurangi throughout the 1960s says the Ngati Porou group performed well.
“In fact all the groups who performed brought their own unique brand of wonderful,” she says.
Seeing the group on stage brought back many fond memories for Hinetu. Her mother Merekaraka Saani Ngarimu was a tutor for Hikurangi when Hinetu was in the group.
The Hikurangi Pariha, alongside the Pariha of Waiapu, Tokomaru and Whangara were all renowned roopu competing in the annual Hui Topu, Anglican based kapa haka competition, held throughout the 1930’s through to the mid 1970’s. Today the group is tutored by Kuini Moehau Reedy, Pele Takurua and Ngarimu Parata who doubles as kaitataki tane. Avril Keelan is the kaitataki wahine and she won the best female leader at Tamararo 2016.
Selwyn Parata, Chairperson of Te Matatini and member of the Tairawhiti Cultural Development Trust says he is confident that our region will be well represented by the five kapa, going to the 2017 Te Matatini.
“Whangara mai Tawhiti and Waihirere have made it into the top nine qualifiers for the past three festivals, Tu Te Manawa Maurea and Te Aitanga a Hauiti have performed at previous festivals and Hikurangi is making its debut entrance, next year. They all have their own mix of hapu and iwi pride and traditions and a legacy of iconic kai-tito, kapahaka exponents and tutors to draw on.”
His hope is that the Tairawhiti turns up on mass to support them all, in Heretaunga.
TE MATATINI NATIONAL KAPA HAKA FESTIVAL, 22–26 FEBRUARY 2017
HAWKES BAY’S BAY SPORTS PARK,
- For info about the four day festival programme and where to purchase tickets go to: www.tematatini.co.nz
- The host of the 2017 Te Matatini, Ngati Kahungunu has an interactive website with the latest festival event info, including accommodation options.