Hukarere and Hato Hōhepa girls lend a hand to host manuhiri

By Kimiora Kaire-Melbourne

Hukarere and Hāto Hōhepa are doing their part in hosting the masses at this year’s Te Matatini. Around 50 Hukarere and 20 Hato Hohepa students helped to prepare and serve kai to manuhiri from all over the motu today. 

Hato Hōhepa head girl Paretao Tipoki-Hansen says, “How we are helping with Te Matatini is by hosting some of the rōpū at our kura. That is how we’re showing manaakitanga and whakawhanaungatanga. Just providing kai for them and a place to sleep. We had a whakatau for the rōpū lastnight. Kaumātua are also staying in our year 13 area.

It’s really exciting helping host Te Matatini. We’re all pretty pumped. Coming here to help waitress is getting us pumped for Te Matatini to start.”

Hukarere took part in the haka pōwhiri this morning alongside more than 500 kaihaka, having prepared for the performance for the last 2-3 weeks.

A number of volunteers and schools within the Kahungunu area worked together to prepare kai and help 6 months of planning come to fruition.

Catering for the Te Matatini pōwhiri is no easy task, with a record number of 47 kapa and thousands of supporters to feed. 

Head caterer Howard McGuire (Ngāti Kahungunu) has taken a fresh and healthy approach to the menu low in sugar and fat, with no deep fried food options.

“It’s sort of a healthy style takeaway using all local produce from here in Kahungunu and further afield, it's a huge undertaking but it's a huge honour to be a part of it.”

Kai aside, the Hukarere girls are looking forward to watching kapa haka at Te Matatini, with one team in particular having their full support.

“Our teacher Koka Hauai Te Ao Wera is performing on Friday with Te Aitanga a Hauiti ki Uawa,” says Hukarere student Te Waiwhakamihi Teepa.

The Hukarere students plan to be decked out in their full number one uniform on Friday so that their teacher feels the presence of her students in the audience.