The last of the 10 groups at the Te Arawa secondary schools kapa haka competition in Rotorua are about to wrap up.
Some may have thought we'd see more props on stage today just like their senior groups at the nationals this year but that wasn't so.
What was seen though was a high calibre of performances. Rotorua is known for its kapa haka abilities and that showed at last year's nationals when two of the Te Arawa groups made the top six.
They're no strangers to the kapa haka scene.
Raukura is a combined group from Rotorua Boys and Rotorua Girls high schools and they hope to repeat last year's success.
Today, 10 teams are vying for the top four positions which will qualify them for the nationals in Hastings next year.
The common theme of many performances was attributed to Te Arawa leader Mauriora Kingi who passed recently.
Aramoana Mohi, Chairman of Ngā Pouako o Te Arawa says, “It's hard to speak about that because Mauriora was a pillar in all the work he did. He was one of our judges. That was him.”
There were no regrets from the male leader of Te Iti Rearea at his team's performance today.
Male leader of Te Iti Rearea, Te Kaiamo Rogers says, “Some of them are still pumped because it's their first time performing, but others know what it's like to perform in a group, being out of breath and the throat hurting.”
Today marks the culmination of weeks of practice and commitment by each group.
While only four will go through to the next stage, it's evident the calibre of performers in Te Arawa has been boosted.