Day 3 - Te Kei hardest pool of competition

By Heeni Brown

Five time national winners Te Waka Huia enter into the festival dedicating their entire bracket to their founding father, Dr Ngapo Wehi.

Annette Wehi says this stand is to show everyone just how much his legacy meant.

Annette Wehi of Te Waka Huia says, both Te Manu Huia and Te Waka Huia have attended this year and our focus is stand proud. It's touching to see how much of an impact Koro Pa [Ngapo Wehi] had on Māoridom.

Waihīrere Māori Club who have also won five titles.

They return with Louise Kingi who is the only performer to ever perform at every festival since 1972.

Ruth Smith of Waihīrere says, "she's one of the experienced performers of our group. But don't mistake age for anything, she's an expert in this game.

Opotiki Mai Tawhiti weren't settling for anything less than the top, using the poi to amaze the audience.

Hemi Hill of Ōpōtiki Mai Tawhiti says, "It's a scared and old poi. It's something you see in some iwi and we're just trying to revive it and also showcase the depth and beauty of our women to the world."

Hikurangi Pariha brought the traditions of their sacred mountain to the stage.

Ngarimu Parata of Hikurangi Pariha says, "It's quite a frightening experience for those first timers here at Te Matatini. But we have been guided by our tutors who have told us just to perform like you're on the Marae at home."
 
Tuhourangi Ngati Wahiao showed sheer determination to make the finals.

Matetu Mihinui of Tūhourangi Ngāti Wāhiao says, "Tūhourangi Ngāti Wāhiao have been performing on a Saturday since 2000 so this is definitely the pool of death."