Twenty-one teams will take the stage at the Te Arawa Kapa Haka regional competition this weekend. The event kicked off this afternoon where teams will compete for a spot at the national competition.
Organisers are expecting thousands of people to attend over the duration of the event but with stage manager, Piki Thomas on board Te Arawa know the event is in safe hands. Long-time performer Trevor Maxwell says “when groups have been coming on for their walk through and run through he's right there, right to the end I'm very proud for our relation Piki for the mahi that he does”.
Piki Thomas has been a stage manager here for over ten years including Te Matatini. “My close friend Willie Te Aho contacted me and asked if I want to have a close seat near the stage to watch the groups, I thought he meant that we were going to give me a really good seat to watch the groups but no he wanted me to manage the stage”. Piki Thomas has enlisted help from students at Te Kura o Te Koutu to help manage the 21 teams that will perform at the event.
The students are eager to learn under his leadership. Paetahi Mitchell of Te Kura o Te Koutu says “it is amazing what he does, how he sets things up for us who are looking after the performing groups”. Ihipera Haverkamep who also attends Te Koutu says “that even under pressure he is clam”.
Tomorrow the first team on stage is Ngāti Pikiao Pakeke who perform at 9am.