Rain doesn't deter Mataatua regional performers

By Heeni Brown

A record 23 groups took to the Mataatua stage but only six will qualify to represent the region at the Te Matatini National competition next year.

Mataatua Regionals this year are in the caring hands of Ruatoki. Stormy weather hit the valley but it did not stop people from getting their Haka Fix today.

Ruatāhuna were the second team to take the stage for the day.

With the event being held in Ruatoki, Tauranga Moana gave thanks to Ruatoki's very own Tītoki Black who was once at the helm of Khanga Reo.

Meremaihi Aloua - Tūtarakauika Ki Rangataua says, ”Most of us are products of Tauranga Moana kōhanga reo and we wanted to acknowledge the efforts of Tītoki Black who has long carried the cause.”

Hosts Te Kapa Haka o Ruatoki welcomed all Mataatua groups and paid homage to their kuia Te Uruhina McGarvey.

Mahora - Te Kapa Haka o Ruatoki, “This song is our love for her because she is ours and a kuia for all of the valley.”

National champions Te Whānau-a-Apanui pay homage to their loved ones who have passed on also.

While Te Whānau-a-Apanui return to the regional competition Te Matatini National winners, but their leader Tamati Waaka says that doesn't necessarily mean the comp is going to be an easy one.

Tamati Waaka - Te Whānau a Apanui, “We are the national champions so they might look at us differently for us is another level to try and lift again that's the hard part but we are happy we have followed through the aspirations of our people.”

Defending Mataatua regional champions’ Ōpōtiki Mai Tawhiti come representing their iwi of Te Whakatōhea.

Rik Mitai - Ōpōtiki Mai Tawhiti says, “We came to perform what we believe in and I thought we've done well. Lovely performance, it was her first time the as female leader and that's something very important to us.”

Tonight the results will determine who the top six teams are to represent Mataatua at Te Matatini.