Māori hula group to head to Waitangi Day celebrations in Perth

By Mānia Clarke-Mamanu

A troupe of entertainers from Huntly is preparing to travel to Perth to mark Waitangi Day celebrations being organised by Kiwi expats.  However, tutor Kirimaaku Kihi of Na Keikei o Ka' Aina Cultural Hula Group says the troupe plans to leave the haka behind and instead they will be performing the hula.

Young hula dancers are preparing for their first performance at the Waitangi Day celebrations in Perth this weekend.

A request to perform came from this year's new organisers, Te Haupai Māori and the Pacific Island Association.  The board was named after Te Haupai, the brother of this group's hula tutor, who passed away a few years ago.

Kirimaku Kihi says, "The board is named after my brother, which is why we agreed to go.  Our haka group won't be ready to go, so I thought we could continue with our young dancers performing."

Mervin Enoka, Cultural Advisor of Te Haupai Maori and Pacifica Island Association Inc says, "It's about bringing the community together.  Although we are commemorating the Treaty of Waitangi, a lot of the people here are New Zealanders."

The group was formed by King Tuheitia's sister, Tōmairangi Paki, about 30 years ago.  Kirimaaku's daughters were part of the group, now so are her grandchildren.

Tomorrow, the hula group leaves for Western Australia.