Ngā Puna o Waiōrea from Western Springs College hail from Tāmaki Makaurau and represent Ngāti Whātua and Tainui.
This is the fourth time on the national stage for Ngā Puna o Waiōrea, who was one of the original schools that began performing at the ASB Auckland Secondary Schools Polyfest 40 years ago.
In the mid 80s, a bilingual unit was established and eventually became the Te Reo Māori immersion unit Ngā Puna o Waiōrea.
It continues to compete in the various divisions of the Māori stage at the ASB Polyfest and has continued to perform as one of the original schools at the Te Ahurea Tino Rangatiratanga Kapa Haka festival.
The group is tutored this year by Tianara Wihongi, Marissa Matson, Tūhoe Tamaiparea, Pere Wihongi and Nathaniel Howe.
Leading the team on stage is their kaitātaki wahine, Ira Aroha Te Namu (Ngāpuhi) and kaitātaki tāne, Owen Mackie-Milo (Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Hāmoa).
Their bracket is specifically dedicated to Dr Merimeri Penfold, but also to the other veteran kaiako of Tāmaki-Makaurau who have passed away this year, namely Whaea Pani Stirling, Whaea Heeni Green, Whaea Mere Tipene and Matua 'Blackie' Tuteira Pohatu.
Here is the whakawātea which is about their place of origin, Ngā Ohomatakamokamo.
It calls to us to return home because we have completed our tasks and met our objectives that we have set for this particular campaign.
This song expresses our love towards our home, to the marae Rehu and to our ancestral house, Ngā Ohomatakamokamo.
The haka section of the whakawātea expresses how Waiōrea support the national competition, but are not in support of the pool system.
They feel it puts increased pressure on rangatahi, whānau, schools and staff to provide more time, money and effort to a competition that already has its own trials and tribulations, and that such high expectations is more appropriate for the senior level of kapa haka.