Tumutumu Whenua: New haka team to debut at Tāmaki regionals

By Aroha Mane

The Tāmaki Makaurau senior kapa haka regionals get underway this coming Saturday. The event is known for its urban teams but this year Tumutumu Whenua will increase the presence of mana whenua in the competition as they take the stage for the first time.  Led by a father-daughter combo, the group represents Ngāti Whātua whānui.

This is the first of our feature stories focusing on some of our special groups that will be performing at this year’s regional competitions.

"This is Tumutumu Whenua's debut on the stage and our love for our people is our biggest motivation. First and foremost, it's about our history, genealogies and kinship and then the competition," orator Paora Tūhaere says. 

He says ancestor Tumutumu Whenua was born from the land and his lineage dates far back in history, as a supernatural being. When he came into this world, Tūhaere says he copulated with a patupaiarehe and so they descend from them.

“For a long time now, I've had a vision for my people of Ngāti Whātua to establish a team that is inclusive of all our Ngāti Whātua sub-tribes,” Manukura Tane, Joe Pihema, says.

Manukura Wahine, Tahua Pihema, says, “I'm nearly 20-years-old and for most of my life my father has lived in Gisborne. He's worked there, raised so many children and even performed with our haka teams. My family decided it was time to give his support for us to his side of the family.”

Joe Pihema says, “Most of our members were raised in the Ngāti Whātua regions, especially in the rural areas of Poutō, Haranui, Ōtamatea, Ōruawharo and here in the urban setting of Ōrākei.

"I must acknowledge our senior haka team Te Puru o Tāmaki. We are fortunate to follow in their footsteps. I applaud them for representing our people of Ngāti Whātua from their inception to today."

Tahua Pihema says, “The colours that will be displayed on our uniform represent the red on our meeting house, we really want to embody our ancestor in our attire. Another colour is the yellow-gold and black you'll see our people wearing when you come to Ōrākei."

“To the groups standing in the Tāmaki regionals this weekend, go hard. Give it your all because that's the beauty of competition. All the best to those teams standing, we''ll see you there,” Joe Pihema says.

“I'm truly blessed to be leading this team, especially because this is our group's first competition. We're not taking it for granted,” Tahua Pihema says.