The 9 finalists of Te Matatini 2015 gave it their all on stage today and the group that rose to the top and was crowned Te Matatini overall champions for 2015 was Te Whānau-a-Apanui, with Ōpōtiki Mai Tawhiti and Te Mātārae i Ōrehu both coming in second equal.
Te Kāea reporter Heeni Brown spent the day speaking with the 9 groups that gave it their all in the finals day performances.
Waikato team Te Pou o Mangataawhiri are no strangers to the top nine.
However today their performance was for more than the judges.
Tony Walker of Te Pou o Mangataawhiri, “It's a hard morning, because we've been in mourning, but we've been told to just sing and thank and farewell them.”
It's taken Ngā Tūmanako 10 years to finally make the finals, they were the only new-entrants to take the stage.
Male leader of the group, Kawariki Morgan says, “We got there today, and I'm just so excited and proud of my group, we've done what we came to do and did what we had to in the last couple of months and the last 10 years.”
Te Waka Huia make stepped up as well and the defending champions, didn't rest on their laurels.
Annette Wehi says, “An elder told us this morning, that it's hard to get to the top and even harder to stay there. And it's a statement we really believe in”
Whāngārā Mai Tawhiti also aimed high.
Tamati Waaka says the judges will be looking at different stances and styles. He also says, it's a wait and see, if the judges were particularly fond of Te Whānau-a-Apanui's style.
Waihīrere are the only team not to miss a national festival.They were competing for their sixth title.
Te Arawa's only group Te Mātārae I Ōrehu secured themselves a spot in the finals and on the hunt for their 3rd championship.
Te Iti Kahurangi knew there could be only one.
Ōpōtiki Mai Tawhiti remembered the wrongful death of their tūpuna and claimed their right to be on stage.