Topics: Kapa Haka, Tūhoe

Hui Ahurei a Tūhoe - Behind the scenes

By Rahia Timutimu, Taroi Black
  • Waikato/Bay of Plenty

A great event begins from behind the scenes. Hundreds of volunteers have dedicated hours of their time to ensure the festival runs without a hitch. 

He's a man on a mission, for more than three decades Rameka Tuhaka has dedicated his time and expertise to his people and to this Tūhoe celebration.

Tuhaka from Ngāti Hamua says, “We're fully committed to running these events for Tūhoe, and our families. We're here doing the work.”

Following the tradition set by his teacher, Tiwi Black, every Sunday since he was 13 years old he has done this work.

“I started following our elders, getting out there and doing it. Although I am only a worker, I still have a role to play,” says Tuhaka. 

The workers that continue to work hard behind the scenes, work alongside the kai-mahi to take care of the 20,000 plus descendants.

Conversations with store holders spoke of where the different kai was sourced, some of which came from whānau, venison coming from the bush as well as kai being bought from local suppliers to feed the iwi. Fried eel or venison on rewana bread, wild pork and watercress were some of the delicacies on offer.

Another concept that has come out of the new regime for the festival is that at the celebration after the closing ceremony will be alcohol-free. 

What comes with this new site and the new direction towards being alcohol-free is finding a new residence for future festivals. 

Tuhaka says, "We're having to ask families to use their property, so at the moment we're looking for a permanent venue, but I also hear that Waimana and Ruatahuna are also on the cards."  

Our presenter Rahia Timutimu also spoke with Paora Kepa, Chairman of the Tūhoe Festival Committee, about what it takes to host the ahurei.

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