He's a young leader, cultural performer, teacher and a bodybuilder. Taumata Soloman is helping children in Rotorua find their Māori world.
Soloman says, “Kapa haka is the foundation of my work, my life. It began here on this marae, Mātaatua.”
Dan Vaka says, “Taumata Solomon achieves anything he sets out to do, whether it's in performing arts, teaching, the work he does with his family. That's just what he does to achieve his goals.”
Soloman says, “Teaching children, I've been at it for eight years now. The difference with what I do to your ordinary teacher is that my students aren't those who sit still and works, and listens all the time.
My students are Māori but don't know they are Māori. They were born Māori but they haven't been taught how to be Māori. What drives my passion to teach these students is that I can teach them about their ancestors.
One thing I really want to do, or should do, is to stand on my marae. The marae back at home, Kākānui, has sat empty but the question on the lips of my grandmothers, grandfathers, is this, in time to come, who will carry the load, who will speak for the marae?
Vaka says, “He's well-respected within Te Arawa. Even though he is from Tūhoe, he's an axe within my tribe of Te Arawa. He's not a show-off. His work, his skills he invests so that the tribe, this world flourishes."