Te Karu o Te Ika welcome their Kahungunu kin for haka challenge

By Aroha Mane

Today Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairarapa welcomed their Tākitimu waka kin to Whakaoriori for the Ngāti Kahungunu kapa haka regional competition. Tomorrow 14 teams will be vying for 4 spots to represent Kahungunu at Te Matatini 2021.

Tears flow for the dearly departed who have transitioned beyond the veil. It's without a doubt that the achievements of these pioneers will be honoured in many of tomorrows performances.

“We intensely miss our lost leaders who were integral in setting up this competition,” says Mike Kawana Kaumātua for Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairarapa.

Chairwoman of Ngāti Kahungu Arts and Culture Karanema Huata says, “It's been really emotional for us. When we lost Piri (Sciascia) and Tommy (Taurima) we lost two exceptional leaders and specialists in their own field.”

This year one of the popular teams is taking leave, while two new teams enter the competition.

“I acknowledge Sheree and Elliot (Spooner) who have committed Te Rerenga Kotuku to another focus. They will take a break this year. The newer groups in this competition include Kahukuranui from Omahu and Te Kikiri-o-te-rangi.”

It's been 14-years since Kahungunu ki Wairarapa have hosted the Kahungunu regionals. The competition will take place here tomorrow in Whakaoriori (Masterton).

Marama Fox from the hosting Wairarapa team says, “It's been a long time since we hosted. This competition acknowledges Ngāti Kahungunu's links here and reminds them that Wairarapa is also within their boundaries.”

The championships will begin tomorrow at 8.30 am.