Te Tū Mataora named Tangata Rau Festival champions

By Aroha Mane

In Rangitāne, Te Tū Mataora are this year's Tangata Rau kapa haka champions. More than a thousand performers, spectators and supporters filled the Regent Theatre in Te Papaioea for the Tangata Rau Festival.

These are the faces and voices that represent Tangata Rau.

"It's done, it's over, we've finished. Today is the first time I've performed. It's actually a big deal for us, we really wanted to support this event," Manahi Paewai (Te Riu o Tamaki-nui-ā-Rua) says.

Nine teams competed at the Tangata Rau Festival today all vying for a chance to represent Rangitāne at Te Matatini. In previous years, only two teams have gone through but this year three will progress.

"Our entrance item is a proposal to the organising committee to change our region's name. It in no way at all is it to belittle the name of Rangitāne but to be more inclusive of other iwi that reside in our region," Pita Savage (Te Tini o Rehua) says

Haimona Manuera (Te Tū Mataora) says, "Our lament is about the different phases of mourning. It can be overwhelming, questions are raised, why? There is anger and then acceptance. It's a realisation for us all."

Te Ringa Kaha's Wharemako Paewai says, "Our entrance item is about the landmarks of Turake. It's so the world and our people know where the boundaries were marked during land exploration."

"I felt the energy from sister and brothers, it was awesome," Zenna-Maria Hepi-Te Huia says.

Absent from the competition because of other commitments this year is Te Huia-a-Ahorau.

"This time around we're working backstage. Huia-a-Ahorau's task today is about ensuring the working behind the scenes runs smoothly so that everything on stage is on point. That's what we're doing at the moment," Lewis Eruera Karaitiana (Te Huia Ahorau) says.

Like the multitude of stars in the sky, so too is Rangitāne on the earth.