The rainfall couldn't dampen the happy and cheerful spirits of the annual Ngāti Porou inter-marae challenge that took place in Te Araroa today.
An estimated 5000 Ngāti Porou descendants turned out to represent their respective marae at the 2016 Pa Wars.
“The main theme of the day, what it truly means to be Ngāti Porou. For all the smaller sub tribal groupings to come home, regardless of whether they live in Auckland or Wellington, they come home to remain staunch Ngāti Porou,” says Jeff Ruha from Te Whānau a Tūwhakairiora.
For the first time, the event has taken place in Te Araroa. The smaller groupings of Matakaoa sent out the challenge to maraes of Ngāti Porou with a total of 23 arrived today.
“This is the first year we have hosted the event, and we're astonished at how many people have turned out today. Regardless of whether it was raining or the sun was shining, we're blown away by how many people have come to Matakaoa today,” says Moerangi Tihore from Te Whānau a Tūwhakairiora and Hinerupe.
“That's correct. Right from the older generations through to the children, to the babies in their prams. Come one, come all of Ngāti Porou,” says Ruha.
It's a mix popular and unusual sports but with the common theme of unity.
“The bonding between families, smaller tribal groupings, and our iwi as a whole is evident,” says Tihore.
They might be family but at the same time they’re still competitive. Organisers say the annual event will return to Te Araroa next year, January 3 2017.