National | Mataatua

Te Matatini - Te Kei

It was clear to see Te Pou o Mangatāwhiri was looking for a finals spot for the second year in a row. Soon after exiting the stage, one of their performers had this to say: “Right now, I'm exhausted, but hopefully we’ve achieved what we came to do on stage.”

Locals, Tūhourangi-Ngāti Wahiao, certainly made themselves known with their sweet voices. After their performance, group member, Tahangawari Tangitu-Huata said: “I'm just buzzing because it’s such a huge thing to have Te Matatini here in Te Arawa.”

Next up were the reigning champs and fellow locals, Te Mātārae i Ōrehu, tutored by Wetini Mitai Ngatai. Their performance shared some of the region’s history, including the story of Hinemoa and Tūtanekai.

They were followed by Rūātoki, the first of the three Mataatua groups to perform today.

Christchurch’s Te Ahikōmau o Hamo Te Rangi acknowledged Te Arawa's efforts in helping victims of the Christchurch earthquake. The group’s male leader, Tauira Takurua said: “That assistance is on-going. Many families are still hurting, and some remain homeless.”

Yes indeed, kapa haka experts have long dubbed Te Kei, 'the pool of death', but regardless of today’s outcome, kapa haka is definitely the winner.