Tame Iti is a well-known figure in Tūhoe, one of his roles at the festival is receiving the wero of senior kapa haka groups. However with recent changes, he's now teaching the younger generation this role.
A well-known face in Tūhoe, Tame Iti says, “It's only proper for me to fill the position vacated by Mowai Tihi.”
For the past 15 years Tame has held the most important role out in the crowd, to receive the challenge laid by the senior haka teams.
Iti says, “It's a modest role, to have a presence and represent them also. If there are only a few over the year, I'll still make a presence even if it's to humour everyone but still being aware of what is happening.”
A role he took up in 2001 from Mowai Tihi, and just like Mowai Tihi did 15 years ago, Tame is handing that role to Tamahore Rangi, a younger well known face of Tūhoe.
“This is the new era coming through and it's only right to pass on to our Tamahore, our expert in this craft. He is the face of today” says Iti.
Looking back on the years, Tame has seen over 200 challenges. One of them remains as a vivid memory.
Iti says, "I remember one particular group, this group from Hawke's Bay and he appeared startled. From this it would suggest he is still learning. So I felt he needed support and encouragement. From this you watch them lift themselves, so your role is to anticipate disruptions and assist when needed.”
Tame will continue to sit in the same spot, as he supports the younger generation fill the role that was once his.