Original members and descendants from the Taniwharau haka group, who snatched victory at the 1981 nationals, are set to impress the crowds when they hit the stage with Ngā Maramara o Taniwharau tomorrow at the Tainui Kapa Haka Regional.
Tomorrow's performance will be special for the descendants and original members of the Taniwharau haka group, who are celebrating their 35th anniversary.
Ngā Maramara o Taniwharau performer Haereata Poutapu says, “We'll be commemorating our members who have passed away. Two of our elders who started the group, and the late Queen Te Atairangikaahu, who was instrumental in gathering her people to form it.”
It's also an acknowledgement of the group's stalwart, the Māori King's sister, Tomairangi Paki.
“Our strength is our unity. That's the most important thing,” says Poutapu.
In 1981, Taniwharau won the first NZ Polynesian Festival in Auckland. The group hopes to inspire the teams who are competing.
Huirama Matatahi another member of Ngā Maramara o Taniwharau says, “We've returned to nurture and encourage our champion teams. To say, yes, we won last century, and in this new century, we can do it again.”
One new group called Te Kāheru Matarau a Hauā are vying for a spot to represent Tainui at next year's Te Matatini in Hawke's Bay.
Tutor Adam Whauwhau says, “Our group Te Iti o Hauā has been competing at this competition for a while. We decided it's time to call all our tribal members together to form one group.”
Approximately 680 performers will take the stage tomorrow, performing in front of their families and supporters. Crowd numbers are expected to reach 5,000 throughout the day.
And there are unconfirmed reports we may even see a cameo performance from King Tuheitia with Ngā Maramarama o Taniwharau.