Te Arawa kapa haka take a bow for whānau

By Herewini Waikato

Waipuketia ki te Aroha (Flood them with love) was the name of a popular event in Rotorua this last weekend.

Fresh back from Te Matatini all six Te Arawa kappa haka teams took to the stage again at Kouramawhitiwhiti (the Rotorua lakefront) to perform to a crowd of 3000-plus.

The event raised well over $30,000 in five hours to donate to whānau in Te Tai Rāwhiti and Ngāti Kahungunu affected by Cyclone Gabrielle. 

Trevor Maxwell from Te Kapaha o Ngāti Rangiwewehi and Watu Mihinui from Te Kapahaka o Tūhourangi Ngāti Wāhiao led the festival.

"We’re doing a collection and a fundraiser for Ngāti Kahungunu and Te Tai Rāwhiti that’s important to us today," said Maxwell.

Tūhourangi Ngāti Wāhiao, Te Hekenga ā Rangi, Ngāti Rangiwewehi, Ngāti Rongomai, Te Mātārāe I Ōrehu and Ngāti Whakaue were the six teams that graced the stage.

Five in the finals

Five of the teams made it to the finals day at the national competition Te Matatini, and it is a first for Te Arawa to have so many teams in the finals.

Ngáti Whakaue kapa was runner up with Te Tai Rāwhiti kapa Whangara mai Tawhiti, and Te Whānau ā Apanui of Maataatua took the top spot toa whakaihuwaka of Te Matatini 2023. 

Te Mātārāe i Ōrehu leader Wetini Mitai- Ngatai was happy he and his group were at the event to support the affected families and encouraged others to support the kaupapa financially.

Tipene James and his Kapa Ngāti Whakaue gave a powerful performance filled with rhythm and style that clearly astounded the audience. They invited trusts and businesses in Te Arawa to financially support the kaupapa of those flood victims of Cyclone Gabrielle.

Tiahua Ropitini of Tūhourangi Ngāti Wāhiao kapa was affected by the floods in Hawke’s Bay where her home and whanau are.

More events discussed

“It was devastating and we are still feeling the mamae but this kaupapa is helping.”

Te Hekenga ā Rangi leaders Dan Vaka and his wife Hiria Vaka told Te Ao Māori News about kaihaka (performers) in their group also being connected to whānau in Gisborne, Ruatoria, Napier, and Hastings who were affected by the Cyclone Gabrielle. “This cyclone has affected all of us - it’s only right we are here to support this kaupapa,” Vaka said.

Kapa haka enthusiasts in Te Arawa are now talking about holding more events like this, using councils’ concert setups and says that having this large audience, there is an appetite for more.

The $30,000 plus funds collected will be sent to the affected whānau by the end of the week.