Te Ihu wraps up

The people from the coast came to support their team who've been practicing for many months. Te Whānau-ā-Apanui supporter, Chick Waititi, said: “I think there's no better team than Te Whānau-ā-Apanui.”

Te Whānau-ā-Apanui was certainly a crowd pleaser. Their compositions reinforced their strong connection to Te Arawa. They also snuck in a challenge to those working on the constitution, and sung of love and reverence. Performer, Carey Tuhaka said: “We paid homage to Hone Hiki Waititi, an esteemed man of our area. He is remembered as a compassionate and humble man.”

The crowd certainly showed their appreciation for the group, while stalwart, Rob Ruha, credited others: “Our strength and our performance have come from our ancestors.”

Ōpōtiki Mai Tawhiti is another previous finalist, and they showed why today, as did previous national winners, Te Waihīrere.

Although these teams have previously made the finals, with so many new teams this year, who knows just who will make it through.