First time Te Matatini performers Mōtai Tangata Rau from the Waikato-Tainui region have been announced as this year’s winner of the “Mobil Oil Te Reo Excellence Trophy”.
The trophy recognises excellence in written and performed Māori language at the biennial Te Matatini Kapa Haka Festival.
However the announcement comes a month after the 2015 National Kapa Haka Festival held recently in Christchurch. In a statement by the National Committee it stated the trophy was inadvertently missed out at the Festival prize giving ceremony.
The trophy was handed over to the group later today at Rāwhitiroa Marae, Te Awamutu.
Selwyn Parata says, “The team collecting the scores had made a mistake. It saddens us that we couldn't give the award at Te Matatini, so we're here to rectify that for the winners Mōtai Tangata Rau.”
Paraone Gloyne says, “We were told of the error, that they did not present the award at the right time. So we determined with Herewini the appropriate way in which to receive the award.”
It's the first time te reo has been put into the aggregate section, with all judges to judge the reo. With so many judges, it was a difficult task for point scorers to accumulate the final scores.
Parata says, “In a previous Te Matatini competition, four judges were chosen to judge te reo. This Matatini, all judges of all sections participated in judging te reo.”
Gloyne says, “We are extremely humbled because this trophy is awarded to the group with the best language according to the judges.”
It's the first time Mōtai Tangata Rau have made it to Te Matatini but this is something they don't want to see happen to any other group.
Gloyne says, “Our group is feeling great, despite what's been said about the delay. We thank Herewini and the Te Matatini National Committee for the gesture to rectify the matter.”
It was a fitting service to hand the trophy over to its home for the next two years.
Gloyne says, “There may be talk within the Te Matatini realm of what makes a group "Māori”. Well here it is, the Māori language.”