Topics: Kapa Haka, Tūhoe

Retaining Tūhoe unique culture

By Mere McLean
  • Waikato/Bay of Plenty

Kapa haka took center stage at the Tūhoe Festival in Rotorua today.

Over the years it’s become a way of retaining Tūhoe unique culture for its youth which has been encouraged by compulsory items such as ‘Karanga, te whakatū waewae, wero, rau rākau, and mōteatea.

This festival aims is to grow new leaders. Organisers say by performing traditional art forms like the 'Wero' those dreams will be realised.

Tei Nohotima of Tūhoe says, “In Tūhoe, the leader that leads the group, tribe is the one that performs the wero, he has one path objective to lead his people.”

14 teams, all performing the traditional items of the Karanga, Wero, Te Whakatū waewae, rau rākau and the Mōteatea is compulsory but the age of the performer of the Wero and Karanga items must be between 18-30years old.

Tūhoe elder Himaima Kingi says, “The young performers are doing so well to retain their Tūhoetanga, say the correct words in their karanga, I'm very impressed and happy that they are performing these traditional items.”

This is the longest running tribal festival in NZ but what makes this event unique is the retention of these traditional items.

Ngatai Rangihau also says, “No matter where you go you have to take your traditional practices with you for Tūhoe this is important we spoke to the elders of this place and they supported our concept regarding our traditional practices.” 

The team that wins the traditional items takes out the competition.