8 Mar 2015

Te Whanau a Apanui take title

10:22 pm on 8 March 2015

A Maori cultural group from eastern Bay of Plenty, Te Whanau a Apanui, were judged the outright winners of Te Matatini National Kapa Haka festival in Christchurch.

Te Kapa Haka o Te Whanau-ā-Apanui

Te Kapa Haka o Te Whanau-ā-Apanui Photo: Te Matatini

Forty five teams from across Aotearoa and Australia have been performing since Thursday and by Saturday night they were whittled down to nine teams to battle it out at the finals on Sunday.

Kapa haka has kept North Hagley Park in Christchurch alive and entertained for the past four days.

Despite spells of rain the event was sold out with crowds of between 6000 and 8000 each day.

Kapa haka fans came to support 45 teams from 13 different rohe, including Australia.

Brent Pene from the Manawatu group, Te Kapa Haka o Kairanga, said because many of the members were in the military, it alleviated the pressure of being the first group to perform on Thursday.

"I suppose from a soldier's perspective, it's what we do. For some of our younger generation in the ropu, our whanau who aren't soldiers, I guess there was a bit more pressure on their behalf. But certainly our build up leading into it I think was done in a way that compensated or alleviated those pressures prior to hitting the stage", said Mr Pene.

Rangimarie Parata-Takurua

Rangimarie Parata-Takurua Photo: Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu

The deputy chair of the Waitaha Cultural Council, who was one of the three organisations supporting the event, Rangimarie Parata-Takurua, said if it was not for the Christchurch City Council, Te Matatini would not have had a free venue to host the event:

"It's not just the Maori communities, which is why it was so important to involve the city council. They have been awesome. They have provided this venue, Hagley Park, free of charge for the event, which you'll probably know that's usually one of the biggest cost factors for any of these festivals around the country. And then they've been really helpful with the publicity into mainstream markets", said Ms Parata-Takurua.

Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel said the city council's intentions were the same as Ngai Tahu's and that was the make the visitors feel welcome.

And those visitors turned up in their thousands on Sunday, and after the nine finalists performed, waited anxiously to hear the announcement as to who the winners were.

Lianne Dalziel

Lianne Dalziel Photo: Christchurch City Council

Paora Brooking is a member of Te Whanau a Apanui.

Te Manu Korihi started off by asking him in Te Reo how he was feeling and who he would like to acknowledge:

Pehea to wairua i tenei wa?

"(laughs) Kaore he kupu e taea te korero".

Ko wai ma nga tangata me mihi atu e koe?

"Ki te whanau, te iwi o Te Whanau a Apanui, ae, ki a Te Kau Rikirangi Gage, Hone Wharepapa, Tamati Waaka ma, Te Reweti Wharepapa, me nga kaihaka kei roto i te kapa, me te iwi".

Paora Brooking said he was speechless and thanked the people in his roopu and everyone back home in eastern Bay of Plenty.

Te Matatini is held every two years and in 2017 Ngati Kahunugnu in Hawke's Bay will be holding the next festival.