Not all Tūhoe descendants happy to combine festivals

A Tūhoe group, which represents 13 marae in the region, have voted no to combining the Tūhoe Festival and the Mataatua Kapa Haka Regional Competition in Easter next year.

Delegates of Te Kōmiti o Runga Tribal, which represents 13 marae in Tūhoe say they're shocked at the decision to combine the Tūhoe Festival and the Mataatua Kapa Haka Regional Competition. 

Te Kōmiti o Runga Chairman, Patrick McGarvey says, “The agreement made by the sub-tribes of Ruatoki is that we need to separate these events also we did not have a say in the decision.”

Te Kōmiti o Runga sits under the authority of Tuhoe’s post-settlement governance entity Te Uru Taumatua.

Last week, Te Manatū Ahurea, the legal entity for the Tūhoe festival met with the Mataatua Regional Committee and a decision was made to combine the two events.  However Te Kōmiti o Runga says more discussion needs to take place.

“The idea is for us to speak directly to the group running the festival and find solutions to cater for both events.  But we're really concerned here in Ruatoki about not being consulted,” said McGarvey.  

The Tūhoe festival is over 40 years old and held every two years during Easter weekend.  Tamiana Thrupp, a long-time supporter of the festival says that it was created by their elders to bring Tūhoe descendants together. 

Thrupp says, “The reason is to bring our people together on a genealogy level, family and sub-tribe level. That's why many would not be in favour of it, and it should be separate from Mātaatua.”

Te Kōmiti o Runga hopes to meet with Te Manatu Ahurea to find a way forward.