Ngāti Waewae rangatahi first female in generations to perform wero

By Wepiha Te Kanawa

South Island, West Coast hapū Ngāti Waewae made history last week when the first female from their tribe in generations performed a challenge to a ministerial party.

17-year-old Te Amo Tāmainu spoke exclusively to Te Kāea about the honour bestowed upon her by her iwi.

The laying of the taki is traditionally seen as a role performed by men.

“It was an honour, I wasn't nervous, I was nervous but I was more excited I got the opportunity to do it because it's something new, it's been done before, but it hasn't been done now in the generation that we are in,” says Tāmainu.

For South Island hapū Ngāti Waewae, it's a tradition from the days of old.

"We knew that there was going to be people that won't like it and people that will like it, but I wasn't worried about the people that don't like it because it's our iwi, it's our hapū."

Mau rākau exponent, Chrissy Hilton says it's not that unusual to see women using taiaha.

“Some people might be shocked to see this girl doing the wero but it's their custom, it's up to her,” she says.

Paramont chief of Ngāti Waewae, Tūhuru and his wife Papakura were renowned for leading war parties.

“I felt my ancestors there, yep I felt Papakura and Tūhaitara. I come off Tūhaitara as well she led war parties.”