Te Matatini 2015 - Te Pou o Mangatāwhiri

By Te Ao Māori News

With the blessing and support of Te Arikinui Te Ātairangikaahu in 2005, Te Pou o Mangataawhiri (TPM) was reformed under the leadership of Ngāria and Tony Walker.

Since its return, TPM has represented Tainui waka at the past three Te Matatini Ffstivals, and in each one, claiming a spot in the Top 9 placings.

Formed by Princess Te Puea Herangi in the 1920s, Te Pou o Mangatawhiri began as a concert party to raise funds for the construction of Tūrangawaewae Marae in Ngāruawāhia.

TPM was in limbo for decades but, after two unsuccessful attempts, the rōpū was revived in 2005, and it has since been finding plenty of inspiration from its past.

The rōpū is tutored by the Walkers who are both school teachers and started tutoring kapa haka at Bernard Fergusson school in Ngāruawāhia.  Most of the members of the group are former school students or their families.

Te Pou o Mangatāwhiri competed in the 2013 Matatini competition hosted by Te Arawa in Rotorua.

Although they did not secure a spot in the top 3 placings, they took out the Haka Composition and Waiata Hou categories, and placed third in the Poi Composition.

For the past year, Te Pou o Mangatāwhiri have taken the plunge and helping the homeless of Hamilton under the initiative the Hamilton Homeless Trust.  Female leader Melaina Huaki says, "This is a way for my team to be inspired and continue on the philosophies of Te Puea and that's our kaupapa we take with us down to Christchurch."