A combined Auckland, Hamilton, Te Kūiti and Wellington-based Rereahu-Maniapoto haka team will perform for the first time at this week's Coronation celebrations for King Tuheitia. Leader Sonny Tahi says its part of their vision to reconnect descendants living outside of the tribe's region to their homeland.
Waiata and haka of Rereahu-Maniapoto heritage will be performed with pride before King Tuheitia.
“Perhaps those who are seeking their own lifestyle and pursuits, to have them return to the homeland and be refreshed by the winds,’ says Sonny Tahi who affiliates to Waikato, Manipoto, Hauraki and Raukawa.
It's been months of practice for Rereahu-Maniapoto but at the same time it's been rewarding.
“It's a precious undertaking to gather all the descendants of Rereahu-Maniapoto from all regions in NZ. Some of the city branches have been meeting to practise and prepare for this performance,” says Hirere Moana from Rereahu-Maniapoto.
Tonight's performance will include members based all over the North Island, from Auckland to Wellington.
Tahi says, “We've dug up old songs that have been sitting in the cupboard. The words, actions and movements originate from our marae at home.”
Haka performances have been known to date back to the region of the third Māori King, King Mahuta. Organiser Rangimarie Mahuta says the custom was consolidated during Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu's reign.
“The theme today is to remember our loved ones in the Tainui region, who've passed away in the last year. So our Tainui haka teams perform in support,” says Rangimarie Mahuta a member of the team.
Hundreds of Rereahu-Maniapoto performers are expected to take this stage tonight along with 12 other groups to entertain all.