Nine haka groups from Taranaki and Whanganui took to the Aotea regional kapa haka stage at Rātana Pā over the weekend where they battled out for one of three spots to Te Matatini.

Te Reanga Mōrehu o Rātana were crowned the winners with their sweet singing impressing audience and judges alike. Tutor and performer Te Taepa Kameta says the group achieved their goals, and as first-time hosts of the regionals, it was a special occasion for the locals who relish the chance to welcome people to their pā.

“I tutuki ngā mahi i runga i te pai, i te tika, me te pono, me te harikoa. Ko tā mātou he kauhau i te rongopai, kua pōhiritia ngā manuhiri ki runga ki tō tātou pā. Nā reira ko tā mātou, kua tutuki pai, kua ea tērā.”

Te Matapihi placed second in the competition. Performer Te Oranga Whanarere says their goal was to bring with them the memories and hopes of their late founder and former leader Morvin Simon, who once advocated for the regionals to be hosted at Rātana Pā.

“I kawe mātou i tō mātou awa, i ngā mate Koro Morv, Aunty Doll mā. E kore rātou e wehe i a mātou. Nō reira i tino mīharo te tū ki konei, ki Rātana, ki mua i tō rātou temepara.”

Strong haka abilities saw Ngā Purapura o Te Taihauāuru take the last spot to represent the Aotea region at next year’s national event. Female leader Te Aroha Broughton-Pue says their main goal was to bring the stories and history that connects Taranaki with Rātana Pā.

“Ko te kaupapa tūranga iho o Ngā Purapura o Te Taihauāuru i tēnei tau ko te kawe mai i ngā kōrero ki waenganui i a mātou me Rātana, tātou te maunga o Taranaki me Rātana Pā. Ko ngā hononga kōrero, ko ngā āpitihanga kōrero kua raua ki roto ki tō mātou tū i tēnei rā - kua ea, kua tutuki, kua rarau.”

From here we look to the Te Arawa region who will be hosting their regionals this weekend.

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