Wetini Mitai-Ngatai has been made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit. The kapa haka innovator and business entrepreneur has been recognised for services to Māori performing arts.
As the saying goes- leave your praises for someone else.
“It's about showing the world that we're still standing strong here in Aotearoa, since way back I've held that idea and that's why I pursue this path with such passion,” says Mitai-Ngatai.
The renowned leader of Te Mātārae I Ōrehu grew up in Rotorua where he says Māori performing arts is a way of life.
“There are many of us of Te Arawa involved in tourism and performance arts, that's a livelihood for families and there are many who rely on it”.
Mitai-Ngatai says there's no shortage of negative narratives about Māori and that it's imperative for Māori to promote positive aspects.
“This is a positive path for Māori, to put ourselves on the world stage, here we are as Māori standing strong in performance arts, business, whatever it is, we need to promote ourselves strongly in a positive light”.
Young Māori are passionate about Māori performing arts and Wetini believes that through them the longevity of the language and customs can be secured.
“The world of Māori performing arts, that's where the survival of the language and the Māori way of life is”.
In receiving the award, Mitai-Ngatai says the honour is to his Te Arawa tribes and his friends of the kapa haka realm.