He Waka Kōtuia from Te Waipounamu is a combination of King’s High School and Queen’s High School, and are affiliated to Kāi Tahu, Kāi Te Ruahikihiki and Kāi Te Pahi.
Established in 2005, this is their second time on the national stage.
He Waka Kōtuia has always held a strong Kāi Tahu component to its programmes, conveying the histories of local hapū using Kāi Tahu reo.
The group’s tutors are Komene Cassidy, Paulette Tamati-Elliffe, Angelina Kiore and Cherie Ford, who all hold a strong belief that kapa haka is the vehicle to learn more about your Māoritanga, it encourages self-discipline, respect, co-ordination, well-being and self-confidence, not just as a performer but also in life.
This year, the kaitātaki wahine, Matawai Uitime-Nicholl, and kaitātaki tane, Taraia Donnelly, lead their group in a bracket that tells the connection between Kāi Tahu and Ngāti Porou, and the trials and tribulations of Paikea.
There are historical stories of strong Kāi Tahu and Kāti Mamoe women, the Ellison Family love story, and topical issues with a haka that opposes opening the local Otago coastline to commercial pāua divers.
The performance is dedicated to Maruhaeremuri Stirling who was a staunch supporter of the revitalisation of te reo Māori.
Here is the whakaeke which outlines the connection between Kāi Tahu and Ngāti Porou, based on the Kāi Tahu whakataukī, ‘Te tokotoru o te tuakana, te tokotoru o te teina, ko te tokoono a Hemo.’
According to Kāi Tahu stories, Hemo te Raki (Hamo te Rangi to Ngāti Porou) had children with both Porourangi and Tahu Pōtiki.
It is this special relationship that is celebrated in this item.