There is a new wave of kapa haka groups making their mark. With former Kohanga Reo and Kura Kaupapa Māori students leading the way.
The Kohanga Reo National Trust was established in 1983, two years later the First Kura Kaupapa Māori in the country opened. That school was TKKM o Hoani Waititi, and now the schools former students are the tutors and leaders of the Matatini Champions. The schools current principal Hare Rua, reflects on when, some of the group’s top adult performers were still students. “Then, some of the top kapa haka performers of today like Kawariki, like Mahanga Pihama, like Tereina Pihama, Marama was a bit younger, but they were all very new to the kapa haka when they were at Hoani Waititi.” Said Rua.
Ngā Tumanako male leader and tutor Kawariki Morgan paid homage to the Kohanga and Kura Kaupapa movement the night Ngā Tumanako took out the Matatini. “This validates the Kohanga Reo movement, the Kura Kaupapa Māori movement, Wharekura, this shows the value of those teachings.”
The Kohanga Reo National Trust believes the lessons they teach in pre-school, are still being implemented by former Kohanga Reo pupils, in today’s adult kapa haka groups. “We know that the first thing you learn at Kohanga Reo to karakia, hīmene and mihimihi. Those are the same basic practices that we're seeing form Kohanga Reo alumni, in their leadership of their kapa.” Said Renata Kururangi from the Kohanga Reo National Trust.