Topics: Kapa Haka, Te Matatini

Reactions to Te Matatini national competition draw

By Heeni Brown

Auckland-based Te Rōpū Manutaki is one team excited at the standing order determined for each group.

By day, Te Hira Paenga is a teacher, but by night, he's the leader of Te Rōpū Manutaki.

As two-time national title-holders, they return to Te Matatini after missing out on a spot at the last nationals in Rotorua.

He says, "Te Rōpū Manutaki has been wandering for a long time, and now it's time to get that spirit back, to honour my father, Paora and all our people."

Now, Manutaki have been put in the same pool as Te Mātārae I Ōrehu and Whāngārā Mai Tawhiti, which Te Hira says they're happy with.

Te Matatini says that preparations for the festival to be held at Hagley Park are going well.

Paraone Gloyne will be leading his team, Mōtai Tangata Rau, to the Te Matatini festival.

Despite being the regional winners, they're heading to the national stage for the first time.

He says, "Preparations are good at this stage. I support what Te Kāhautu said on the livestream last night; sharpen your 'taiaha' and get ready to stand on Pūtaringamotu, which is the Māori name for Hagley Park."

The next step for Te Matatini is to appoint judges.  The national competition will be held in Christchurch in March.