Te Kāea was on the ground at the Australian National Kapa Haka competition which also doubles as a Te Matatini 2017 qualifier.
Australian Correspondent Mātai Smith says, “There are two groups who have been selected to represent the region of Australia in 2017, when the festival will be hosted by Ngāti Kahungunu. One of the groups is no stranger to the festival but for the other, it's their first time at the nationals.”
The performance stage trembled as each of the seven competing teams gave it their all up there. Each of the groups came here, with their own kaupapa to share.
Te Mauri Maniapoto – Turanga Ake says, “Loss of people, loss of land, loss of mana. That's our main kaupapa.”
“He kapa mata waka mātou, so from all over the place, toenails in every corner of New Zealand. So yeah we're just here to whakanui i te rā and have a good time,” says Matt Paki - Manawa Mai Tawhiti.
Jerome Te Peeti - Te Raranga Whanui says, “We had a good performance, before it we were freaking out but afterwards we were all good.
“We have brought our team here so as they get a feel as to what it's like to stand up on that stage, that's the main thing to us,” says Rawiri Toko - Ngā Huinga Tumanako.
Mau Parata – Ngā Toki Pounamu says, “This is our first stand, we've been practicing for ten weeks. So we're buzzing right now.”
Selwyn Parata – Chairman of Te Matatini says, “The groups are now growing, there was a time when the numbers were low but now they've got lots ofs healthy numbers. And the subject or themes in their songs and haka are awesome.”
“It's really developed over the years. How many years has it been and look, this is Australia causing a real stir!” Muriwai Ihakara – Organiser.
But once the shaking had subsided, there were only two groups off to the nationals.
Tuarua whanau mo te overall aggregate, Te Kuraroa
Tawhairiri Taiatini - Te Kuraroa says. “Yeah nah it was a good experience for everybody.
Theres a lot of first time performers here, hold fast to what our people have taught you back home.”
“We've had so many days of hard practice, blood sweat and tears but that's what you do to accomplish what you need to here,” says Manaaki Rawiri – Ngā Manu Waiata.
So we'll hear the dulcet tones of these songbirds, Ngā Manu Waiata and Te Kuraroa once again when they take the stage at Te Matatini.