Kapa Haka links at Tūrangawaewae remain strong

By Harata Brown
  • Waikato/Bay of Plenty
  • North Island: West Coast
  • North Island: East Coast

A 70 year tradition of tributes to the Kīngitanga through kapa haka is going strong, at the 9th commemoration of King Tuheitia’s coronation.

Dozens of performing groups have converged on Tūrangawaewae to affirm links with the Māori nationalist movement in a tradition of cultural performance which began in the 1950s.  

Six time national champions, Te Waka Huia, is one of them. Group leader Tāpeta Wehi says his group is continuing an association that began with their parent group Te Waihirere, “My ancestor, Te Kani Te Ua spoke with Waikato leader Piri Poutapu, who invited Te Waihirere to attend. So we have been coming here since the 1950s.”

Keri Hako, who attended with a Taranaki delegation said their link with the movement was forged during the time of King Taawhiao and the prophets Te Ua, Te Whiti and Tohu, through “genealogy, tribal alliance and mutual endeavour.”

Event MC Hari Hona has seen groups of all ages line up with the best over the weekend, “There is a sense of unity amongst the tribes who have attended.”