Jojo Waaka gone too soon

By Taroi Black
  • Waikato/Bay of Plenty

Māori communities around the country are mourning the shock loss of another Māori entertainer this week. 26-year-old Jojo Waaka known for her performing prowess and ability to entertain any crowd died unexpectedly this morning.

Jojo Waaka, a much-loved kapa haka performer and entertainer of te ao Māori.

Jojo's bestfriend Tiahuia Ropitini says, “We very saddened by the news especially in Te Arawa region and across the country I guess. She was an expert at entertaining people.”

The circumstances of her death are unknown at this stage. The news has come as a shock to her close friend Tiahuia Ropitini.

“It was only on Saturday when I caught up with my mate at my nanny's whare. It was only brief but I would always cherish that time forever.”

Jojo was known for her performing prowess and ability to entertain the crowd, MC'ing at the Maori Music Awards and also the secondary kapa haka nationals where she also captivated our viewers on very own Te Kaea coverage.

With her experience in the kapa haka arena, she auditioned to be part of the popular TV series The Kapa, a programme which eventually took her and many others around the world promoting our traditional dance.

Her tangihanga will take place tomorrow at Te Takinga Marae just out of Rotorua. Kingi Kiriona of Te Iti Kahurangi who worked with her late father Napi Waaka during their former campaigns at Te Matatini said they'll be travelling through this Sunday.

Te Iti Kahurangai Tutor Kingi Kiriona says, “We were so keen to have her in our lines but she was so close to her Te Arawa side and we know they're mourning just like us from Tainui.”