Social media to help continue Hui Aranga tradition

By Regan Paranihi

Hui Aranga has been a tradition for many Māori Catholic whānau. It is an annual event that happens during Easter where many congregate to celebrate their faith and their Māoritanga.

However, due to Covid-19 the event has been cancelled with many turning to social media to continue the tradition.

It is an event that began in Otaki in 1946 and is still being celebrated today.

"We get to come together and see each other again so that we can dive in-depth into our culture, our religion and our faith in our religion," Che Wilson (Ngāti Rangi) says.

Hui Aranga also holds the title for the longest-running kapa haka competition.

"The Hui Aranga is the eldest kapa haka gathering. Our elders thought to establish a competitive component so the youth would connect to religion through their actions."

It is a celebration that ultimately brings the Māori community across the country together.

"Firstly, seeing our relations always brings back memories, secondly it's another way to reignite the connection we have to our religion and thirdly the competition inspires our growth within our own culture," Wilson says.

This is the second time in Hui Aranga history that the event has been cancelled, however, whānau members have turned to modern-day technologies to ensure the hui continues.

"We couldn't physically hold the Hui Aranga, however, we've changed the way that it is run so that we can still have it, and that is online.

"All the experts of the Hui Aranga have come together through these technologies."

For many years, Wilson has been a part of the Hui Aranga celebrations and despite what is going on across the world there is still a silver lining.

"It brings me comfort knowing our relations across both islands, the North and the South Island, are connecting in, as well as our families living overseas." 

The mass gathering will commence at 10am Sunday morning on the Hui Aranga Facebook page