Powerful performances seen at Te Mana Kuratahi

The challenge has been laid at the Te Mana Kuratahi, the National Primary Schools Kapa Haka Competition.

With defending champions Rākaumangamanga returning the mauri to Te Tairāwhiti.

Morehu Bishop from Rākaumangamanga says, "Our school, Te Wharekura o Rākaumangamanga are following the protocol of Te Mana Kuratahi.  Every year the trophies return to the venue."

The group was up first today, setting the bar with a powerful performance. 

Kapa haka expert Derek Lardelli says that by nurturing children within the Māori culture, the calibre of kapa haka will continue to rise.

He says, "The nature in which they returned the trophies, they carried their pride, credibility and strength with them as they walked on.  I saw their spirit and beauty in the way they carried themselves."

Tomorrow 15 groups will take centre stage. 

Some of the groups who have featured strongly over the years in their regions are Hoani Waititi, Paroa and a former winner, Rotorua Intermediate.