It's quite a journey for haka groups from the Far North to travel to Te Matatini this year. That's why Whangarei group Hātea has had to fundraise continuously for the past six months to raise the $30,000 needed to pay for their travel and accommodation expenses.
The stage has been a real home for Hātea in recent months in their efforts to pay for their travel costs to Te Matatini.
Otene Hopa says, “Yes, for the last six months we have been fundraising by holding performances in the community and at a range of functions so it's been a massive effort. This is what our performers are passionate about so we've done the hard yards and we've hit our goal.”
Renowned for their beautiful singing, Hātea has won the Te Matatini choral on a number of occasions and winning Te Matatini remains their focus.
“Of course that's what we want. But it's just as important for us to represent our region so the whole nation can hear what the major issues in Northland are. We will also take with us the best wishes of our elders and all the people of this region,” says Hopa.
Now counting the days until they depart from home to Te Matatini, the group are full of excitement and emotion about their upcoming trip to the South Island.
Hopa says, “I would like to say to the performers from across the nation and those from here in Northland to give it their best. No doubt we shall all meet in Christchurch. Best regards 'til then.”