Former Matatini champions fill Rome's ancient Colosseum with waiata

By Stefan Dimitrof

The last place you would think you would hear Māori waiata is ancient Rome's Colosseum but that is exactly what former Matatini champion  Te Mātārae i Ōrehu is doing in Italy.

The group is in Italy to perform at the Latium Festival, an annual folklore festival designed to bring indigenous dance groups together from all around the world to share their taonga.

The groups have performed in various places since arriving such as the Colosseum, the Temple of Ercole and the medieval gardens of Ninfa.

Te Waata Cribb is part of Te Mātārae i Ōrehu, and teaomā caught up with him just before the group travelled to the north of Italy for more performances.

Cribb said the group's members had been taking a while to acclimatise to the weather. with the lowest temperature 35 degrees and the highest was 40.

Cribb said that the group has been accompanied by other groups from Uruguay, Georgia, Brazil and Chile and said  “we share the nights and the stage together”.

“We just travel together, and we start around about 8;30pm in the evening to around 12 midnight and after we just travel back to our accommodation.”