Te Wharekura o Ruātoki from Mataatua waka have taken to the stage and their group has competed at the nationals since the very beginning.
Te Wharekura o Ruātoki was established in 1896 and is widely known as the first bilingual school in New Zealand, the majority of its students are of Tūhoe descent.
Former principal Tāwhirimātea Williams and his wife Kaa Williams established the kapa haka in 1988 in an effort to help support the instilling te reo me ngā tikanga of Tūhoe within its student and community.
Tutored this year by former students of the wharekura, Mahora and Tommy Heremia, Edward Harawira and Eva Anderson.
Today their kaitātaki wahine is Tōmairangi Faye Mariu and their kaitātaki tāne is Te Rangihaeata Hare.
Here is Ruātoki’s poi which outlines the important links Tūhoe has with Te Urewera forest, and the fact that it is still a major food source for the iwi. It also outlines the significance of the return of Te Urewera to the people of Tūhoe.