Te Pou o Mangatāwhiri help the homeless - Feature

By Taroi Black

Te Pou o Mangatāwhiri was one of the groups to reach the finals of the 2013 Te Matatini Festival.  They are hoping to make a difference not only in kapa haka, but also by devoting their time helping the homeless in Hamilton.

Helping the homeless is important to this group and they hope this philosophy will help them when they take the stage in Christchurch.

Melaina Huaki says, “Our club was founded in Ngāruawāhia during the time of Te Puea.  In 1921, our club was initially created to raise money to help open a new hospital. But the council at the time decided not to build the hospital, which is why we built Tūrangawaewae Marae.

Tamiaho Heraengi Searancke says, “Te Pou o Mangatāwhiri thrives because we always go back to the customs of the marae, our protocols.  The warriors of the house of Pōtatau Te Wherowhero stand ready to carry out tasks in homage to our king.

Everyday our men train with weaponry.  Despite the magnitude of this calling, we share our knowledge of weaponry with our team.”

Huaki says, “We have many issues that we cover like our Poukai, which focusses heavily on bereaved families, widows and the poor.  That's one of our big issues.

We started helping to feed the poor after a new law was passed called the Psychoactive Substances Act. Most of us went along to support that cause.  We cooked and went to help the Hamilton Homeless Trust in town.”

“Other than iwi-focussed events, our club is like a family but still staying true to the cause,” says Ngareta Takiari.

Hira Hona says, “The reason why I'm passionate about this group is because of its values. It's about protecting and cherishing the Kīngitanga and everything that goes with that.  My parents and elders belonged to this club. That is why I'm passionate about this club, Te Pou o Mangatāwhiri.”

Huaki says, “When I think about the Kīngitanga, it's for the world.  Tūrangawaewae Marae is for the world.

That's how we think as a club, that Tūrangawaewae Marae is for the world.We are the descendants of Tainui and we are the legacy of our kuia, Te Puea.”