Kapa haka thrives in Australia

By Regan Paranihi

Brisbane-based haka group Te Hau Tawhiti are using Māori performing arts to incorporate their culture into their daily lifestyles.

Last year, the group was recognised internationally when they won the Great Te Māngai Pāho video challenge '#1miriona'.

Since winning the competition, they have invested their winnings into resources and wānanga to keep their knowledge baskets filled. 

Te Hau Tawhiti co-tutor Te Waikamihi Korohina-Ormsby, says, "Most of us living here have been living away from home for a long time and for most of us it is pleasing to see Māori aspects such as weaponry, titi torea and prayer."

The group was first established to compete at a Super 12 competition in Brisbane and from that moment onwards they decided to carry on their kaupapa.

"It has opened up a lot of doors in terms of expanding our culture over here in Australia, and doing a lot of performances for the likes of Waitangi Day, Anzac Day, and becoming well known in the community wherever we can put our foot in," says co-tutor Tamaki Gregory-Peita.

Being a kapa haka group living abroad also comes with some challenges.

"The resources are really limited for us over here so we don't have the advantage as whānau back home so we have to make do with what we've got and who we've got," says Gregory-Peita.

Te Hau Tawhiti will be performing in Hawai'i in September and could possibly make an appearance on the Te Matatini stage in the near future.