Edgecumbe hosts Ngāti Awa Te Toki Kapa Haka Festival

By Herewini Waikato

The Ngāti Awa cultural festival, Te Toki Kapa Haka, is being held in Edgecumbe this weekend next to the Edgcumbe Rugby Club.

People from the 22 hapū of Ngāti Awa will compete in a bunch of events, all aimed at building their connection to their cultural identity, and bringing life to a tribal saying: The bindings of the adze of Ngāti Awa can't be weakened by the heat of the sun or softened by rain..

“Te Toki is not just about kapa haka, it is also about revitalising the language and growing Ngāti Awa tikanga,” lead function organiser Thomas Mitai said.

Te Puna Ora o Matātua, Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi, Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa came together to make this weekend a success in a first-time collaboration.

“Tohu ora o Matātua, and Omataroa are just a few more of the many support groups this year, and this event is not just for Ngāti Awa but all of Matātua,” Mitai said.

Who will take out Te Toki?

Influencing next generation

 “This event is all about our rangatahi who will have an opportunity to either perform or watch the beauty of their Ngāti Awatanga on stage and know they come from an iwi of greatness. We are hoping will empower them to become successful Ngāti Awa uri into the future,” Mitai said.

“We are expecting a large crowd over the weekend. There will be kai including the famous Te Teko kānga pirau (rotten corn), tamariki games and play areas, three enormous screens, and a sound system loud enough to be heard all the way from the moon, and some of the world’s best haka on offer,” he said.

Gates open at 8 am tomorrow and tamariki/ whakangahau will take centre stage. Sunday will host the adults’ competitive kapa haka.