The chairman of the Aotea Maori Performing Arts Committee says his Ratana team is once again delighted to represent Taranaki and Whanganui at the national stage in Rotorua next year.
On Saturday more than 400 Maori cultural performers battled it out in Hawera at the bi-annual event to compete for a place to represent the Aotea region at Te Matatini national festival next year.
Kamaka Manuel said the event also acknowledged the recent death of Patea Maori Club stalwart Nanny Hui Kahu who inspired rangatahi to join kapa haka teams.
He says there is a buzz of excitement among members of his roopu.
Mr Manuel says Te Reanga Morehu o Ratana is proud to represent the Aotea rohe along with Te Matapihi from Whanganui who came second, and Nga Purapura from Taranaki who came third.
He says on a personal note his team is ecstatic that they were able to come away and defend their title.
Meanwhile, in Christchurch the Waitaha kapa haka regionals were also held on Saturday with Te Ahikaaroa coming first, Nga Manu a Tane taking second place, and Te Kotahitanga coming third.