Kia Ngāwari set to take Te Matatini stage for Te Tau Ihu

By Taroi Black

Kapa haka supporters gathered in Nelson for the Te Tau Ihu regional competition where just two groups stood to compete to win the title and represent region next year at Te Matatini. 

Te Tauihu is by the far the smallest kapa haka regionals competition this year.

Tom Alesana says, “Te Tau Ihu isn't one of the strongest regions for kapa haka but our future generation are pushing for improvement.”

However these performers believe that kapa haka is another great avenue that helps unite the Māori community.

Ropata Taylor (Ngāti Rārua, Te Atiawa) says, “Although there's not that many of us that do kapa haka in Te Tau Ihu region, but it's good to see some who have a passion for the arts.”

With only two teams trialling for Te Matatini, only one lucky team will go through.

This year, Kia Ngawari make a comeback into Te Matatini after appearing as a South Island representative team over two decades ago.

Pirihira Paul of Kia Ngāwari says, “My husband and I formed the group originally and we were the duet in the past and today we sang with the young ones coming through, then we disappeared and left them to complete it.”

Some of their performers are still performing today. The Nelson based group represents their local iwi, Ngāti Koata.

Louisa Paul says, “We had kapa haka from 1974 right through to 1991 and then our team went into recess. We hope that the future is bright because a lot of those waiata can come back and be re-lived.”

So watch this space whānau, these haka veterans are about to take Te Matatini with class.