Pareārau are the first to take the Te Matatini 2015 stage from the Kahungunu region today. It is also their national debut.
The group was established in 2006 at the request of their Te Ara Reo Māori ākonga (students) from Te Wānanga o Aotearoa, Heretaunga and Ahuriri to learn the Ngāti Kahungunu and Rongomaiwahine waiata and haka.
They may be new to the competitive kapa haka scene, but they bring with them a powerful message.
Aaron Parekura Matehe told Te Kāea, “Our children are still getting hurt, some even being killed like Delcelia Witika, Jame Whakaruru who were murdered. This haka was written for them, for the Kahui twins, Nia Glassie and the many children who have been victims of abuse.”
Tutor Jackie Irihuia Ham says, “This is such a huge honour for us. It's a first for Pareārau, starting out as an entertainment group. Now the main focus of the group is to do justice to all our Ngāti Kahungunu and Rongomaiwahine songs, chants and haka.”
The group's tutors this year are Jackie Irihuia Ham, Matewai Timu-Fosio and Aaron Parekura Matehe, with Matewai and Aaron standing as today's leaders.
Here's a recent interview with Pareārau in their preparations for Te Matatini 2015: