Ngā Pōtiki a Hinehopu are among new faces heading to Te Matatini this year. However these new faces have been coupled with the knowledge of past Te Mātārae I Orehu performers.
They believe it's a winning combination with the group's tutor, Te Hau Mitai Ngātai emphasising that “we wanted to keep our link to the kapa haka, Te Mātārae I Ōrehu. With that in mind, I approached my older brother, Wetini who gave us our name.”
A top performer who won the male leadership title at the Te Arawa regionals, Raimona Peni, bases his performances on Te Hau Mitai's style of haka, saying he wanted to “show the world his style of performing and support the call to empower the voice of Ngāti Pikiao.”
All the performers in the group have genealogical links to all the iwi around Lake Rotoiti including Ngāti Pikiao, Ngāti Rongomai and Ngāti Tarāwhai.
Ngā Pōtiki now heads to Te Matatini with high hopes ranked at No.6 for the Te Arawa teams.
Peri says, “Ngā Pōtiki is very fortunate to have secured a place to compete. It's true that we're going there to compete and not to play marbles.”
Reporter: Heeni Brown