In Australia, kapa haka groups are busily preparing themselves for their regional competition. This year the host region is Perth who will help host all the groups as well as run the event.
Seven groups will be taking to the stage tomorrow in Perth. All are hoping to qualify and represent Australia at the next Te Matatini being hosted by Ngāti Kahungunu in 2017.
Just like the teams back home, the Aussie teams are practising hard.
Gaylene Karaka from Turanga Ake says the key to a strong team is the commitment, “One of the biggest things that we have is commitment. If you have the commitment then you have everything. So we're just stepping the commitment up but with that comes sacrifice, a hundred percent on the floor, a hundred percent with fundraising. A hundred percent commitment, that's what we're asking this time.”
But it's not just a full commitment on the floor that teams are giving in this campaign.
“For Ngā Manu Waiata, our members give it their all in the group, particularly when it came to fundraising for us to travel to Perth,” says Raureti Tahuriorangi.
“Not many would know but I suppose it's dearer than flying back home if not the same sort of thing. So although we're still flying domestic, you know it's a costly factor getting there, not only just to get ourselves there but all our mea. All our kakahu and all those kinds of things are definitely not an easy task,” says Dre Ahipene from Turanga Ake.
Despite the financial burden and cost on the groups, there's no price you can put on performing kapa haka.
“At the end of the day it's nothing but going to Perth, being with our whanau, that's what counts,” says Ellen Maru from Ngā Manu Waiata.
“For the love of haka, for the love of our reo, our history, our culture. And our people,” says Raureti Tahuriorangi from Nga Manu Waiata.
“The things I've seen from kapa haka in Australia is awesome! The level of kapa haka has gone even higher than what it used to be. And I'm proud of the Australian Maori that are doing that. It's getting better and better each year,” says Nukumai Manihere from Te Taurahere o Nga Waka.
Groups from Australia are still hopeful that one day they will be able to act as the host region of Te Matatini.
Ellen Maru from Ngā Manu Waiata says she’s keeping the faith, “Hopefully we get that chance in the near future but oh I think they've got you know the next couple of years already planned. But hopefully, that Australia does get that chance to hold a Te Matatini here.”
Only time will tell whether or not that dream will become a reality for our whānau living in the land of the dreaming.