Te Mātārae i Ōrehu are the defending champions of the 2014 Te Arawa Kapa haka regionals and runner's up at last year's Te Matatini national competition. The rōpū is the seventh group to take the stage at the Rotorua Energy Events Centre today.
Like other groups who have stood this weekend, Te Mātārae i Ōrehu paid tribute to the late Mauriora Kingi, a well respected leader and orator of Te Arawa waka.
They made their first appearance at the regional competition back in 1995.
Te Mātārae i Ōrehu is well-known for their korowai styled uniforms, weaponry and the use of traditional battle formations in their choreography.
Strong leadership has the ability to motivate a team and this is evident as both Wetini Mitai-Ngatai and Miriama Morrison-Hare have won individual leadership titles throughout the competition.
In 2014 they were also placed first in the whakaeke, waiata-ā-ringa, haka and whakawātea.
At last year's Te Matatini, Te Mātārae i Ōrehu took the use of props to another level with a literal interpretation of Te Ahi Kōmau on stage.
Haka and Māori weaponry exponent, Te Irirangi Tiakiawa aimed to create a group that would maintain traditional haka, weaponry and movements.
Te Mātārae I Ōrehu aims to personify and perpetuate stories, the history of Māori culture and its forbears.
Their aspiration is to celebrate the future while acknowledging the past.
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