Topics: Kapa Haka, Te Matatini

Te Aitanga-a-Hauiti to uphold strong stance at Te Matatini - Feature

By Heeni Brown
  • North Island: East Coast

Te Aitanga-a-Hauiti is the first group from the East Coast teams, which include Waihīrere, Whāngārā Mai Tawhiti and Tū Te Manawa Maurea, to perform at this year's Te Matatini in Christchurch.

Their male leader is none other than reo Māori expert Dr Wayne Ngata, and he shares his thoughts on the competition and the judging criteria at Te Matatini.

“Hauiti was the youngest son of Hingangaroa and Iranui. Taua, the ancestor of Te Whānau a Apanui, was the first born. Next was Mahaki Iwi Karoro, one of two ancestors known as Mahaki. He is the ancestor of the hapū in the Waiapu basin; then the youngest, our Uawa ancestor, Hauiti. 

Through these activities we are able to look at others, and it has strengthened my children. This is my family. There is no two ways about it.     

We are here at Tītīrangi, the home of Hāmoterangi.  Hāmoterangi married Porourangi and from that marriage descends Ngāti Porou. Later she married Tahu and from that marriage descends Ngāi Tahu. 

You have to fulfil the main purpose first, haka comes later. While we sing and haka in what we do, the important thing is getting together as Māori.

Competition is needed in everything we do so that we stay strong. In today's competitions, you fail if you don't strive and you need to strive to win. 

That's the good thing about Te Matatini and I'm speaking about the competitions here on the East Coast. We've had the Tamararo Competitions for 60 years and it’s through competition that winners are made.

The judges have a heavy task and we should appreciate that. They have to carefully evaluate the execution and reo in the each performance. That's something judges have to prepare for, not so much the performers. They need to be knowledgeable and competent.

The young ones playing behind me, we hope that they will take the front in time. They know the songs and haka we learn very well.”