Meet the Whangārei quartet believed to be first Māori group to win prestigious chamber music contest

In what's believed to be a first, a Maori quartet has taken out a prestigious secondary school chamber music contest, and the four Whangārei teens are still buzzing a week after their win.

The string quartet group, Te Ahi Kaa, is made up of three siblings from the Martin Whanau: Maia-Dean's the lead violinist, Atawhai's on second violin, their brother Purotu's the cellist and their mate Isaiah Kaiawe is on the viola.

"I like chamber music with them because it's a special kind of connection when you've know them," Isaiah Kaiawe told 1 NEWS.

That close connection saw them beat 400 ensembles to win the country's top chamber music competition.

"We were just moved by the natural honesty of their music-making," said adjudicator Wilma Smith.

"It feels like we've revolutionised what it is to play chamber music, people of a different kind of ethnicity because it's usually like European groups that win the competition," said Isaiah.

"Hopefully we start a trend, encourage more Maori to take it seriously and get hard out into it instead of playing Twinkle once and gapping after that," said Maia.

But after months of intense practice, the aftermath of a win is strange.

"We do not know what to do after it because we worked really hard. What do we do now?" said Purotu.

The Whangarei string quartet are still buzzing a week after their win. Source: 1 NEWS

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