National | Mataatua

Te Hui Ahurei a Tūhoe mauri handed to Mataatua Marae

Ruatoki has handed over the mauri of Te Hui Ahurei a Tūhoe to next year's hosts, Te Kapa Haka o Mataatua ki Rotorua. Ruatoki, delegates from each kapa haka of Te Hui Ahurei and the Hui Ahurei a Tūhoe governance group were welcomed at Mataatua Marae, where the ceremony took place.

Bringing the mauri of Tamarau formally cements that the event will be hosted there. Today, delegates discussed the logistics of the event, where they will host groups and the vast program of cultural performances and sports.

The caretakers of Mataatua Marae are elated to finally have the Hui Ahurei a Tūhoe return.

"I feel awesome about it. It's a feeling that I haven't had before. I'm really looking forward to it, coming back to here where it originally started," said Karauria Manihera.

Whitiaua Ropitini laid the request on behalf of Mataatua ki Rotorua haka group and the marae to host the event, on the stage at the last Hui Ahurei in Ruatoki.

"The desires of our elders have come to fruition, furthermore this request was made by us the youth with the support of our elders, " said Ropitini.

"My biggest thing is that we draw more of the outside whānau back to here. Being centralised in Rotorua I think it's got a potential to bring them back," said Manihera.

Mataatua marae hosted the first two Hui Ahurei 46 years ago. Created by John Rangihau to strengthen the identity of urban Tūhoe and for Tūhoe descendants to come together and celebrate their unique identity through kapa haka performance and sports. Thousands are expected to attend.

"It's about returning the descendants of Tūhoe to the marae established by our elders. This marae was built on the principals of hope, love, and faith to unify those who live within and outside the region of Tūhoe," said Ropitini.

"It will happen. Everybody will pull together, yeah we'll host them, don't worry about that," said Manihera.

The Mataatua ki Rotorua kapa haka will meet with Te Arawa elders next week to start planning for hosting the event.