Rangatahi look to take out Smokefree Tagata Beats National Finals

By Mare Haimona-Riki

Rangatahi from Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Hawaiiki Hou take to the stage tonight in their first appearance at the ‘2019 Smokefree Tagata Beats’ competition held at the Vodafone Events Centre in Auckland.

Having been established only 7 months ago, the full immersion Māori school from Te Tairāwhiti (East Coast) automatically have an edge on the competition.

The band consists of eight members, including seven vocalists.

“This is a little bit different to what we are used to do, doing kapa haka because you can't hide or relax, you are always in the spotlight,” says Manai Aupouri (Te Aitanga-a-Māhaki) of the band.

The name of the band, Kōkōwai, or superheroes, has great significance to the group as it pays tribute to the important people who helped establish the school.

Drummer, Paora-Whaanga Gilbert explains, “The name of our group is about celebrating our mothers, they are the ones who got us here, they are the ones who made our school what it is today.”

The final is being held at 7pm tonight at the Vodafone Events Centre in Auckland.