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Six60 aiming to 'break down cultural barriers' by featuring kapa haka groups during tour

Puangarua haven't graced a Matatini stage let alone their first regional competition, but the Hokianga kapa haka got to step out on stage for the first time alongside popular band Six60.

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The Hokianga group joined the popular band at their concert in Waitangi earlier this month. Source: Te Karere

Te Karere caught up with the team moments before they graced the Waitangi stage in their home region of Te Tai Tokerau. 

"The team is feeling nervous yet excited knowing they will debut alongside the band," Puangarua's Blake Ihimaera told Te Karere before the performance.

And it's Te Rarawa's Pere Wihongi who is organising haka teams to stand alongside Six60.

"Here in Northland, Puangarua have taken this up and we'll get to see other groups from other regions such as the South Island and the west [Taranaki]," he says.

Six60 member Ji Fraser grew up in Whangara, but he admits he didn't get the nod from the champion team.

It's a privilege for Six60 to stand alongside Māori haka groups, he says.

"To kind of break down that cultural barrier that has been there for a long time, so to be up on stage with kapa haka means a lot and it's as fun to be up there as much as seeing it on the ground," Fraser says.

And what a treat it is for the new group to come out with Six60.

"We've got to this level now to showcase what's needed before the people," Puangarua's Anton Fa'atau says.

Ihimaera is also pleased.

"It's an initiative that showcases the beauty of Northland so acknowledgements go out to the home people here of Waitangi and the band Six60," he says.

Puangarua is a star that rises in the horizon and just like the star, the group Puangarua are stars on stage too.