Te Mātārae i Ōrehu has retained the title as regional champions following the Te Arawa Kapa Haka competition.
Five teams will go on to represent the region at the national Te Matatini competition next year and amongst them will be new team Te Hikuwai.
Te Arawa has spoken and Te Mātārae I Ōrehu are the supreme winners.
According to Mataia Keepa the team was very happy in relation to the points, but one of the reasons they were extremely happy was due to receiving the Mauriora (Kingi) Memorial Trophy.
18 teams fought for the top five positions. This year new team Te Hikuwai also qualified.
The group was established in 2009 and are linked to the Te Arawa hapū of Ngāti Pikiao.
Arapo Whata of Te Hikuwai says, “I am so excited. I can't express the right words, but we have achieved the goal. All the hard work over the many months and weeks has been worth it. This is Te Hikuwai's time to head to Te Matatini.”
Ngā Uri o Te Whanoa and Kataore who are strong teams and have previously represented Te Arawa at Te Matatini missed out this year. However, the standard within Te Arawa was extremely high.
Mataia Keepa says, “It's really unfortunate. There are some missing faces in the fold, however the five teams chosen will be representing Te Arawa. The pressure is all on the five teams to uphold the legacy of Te Arawa at the nationals.”
Joining Te Mātārae i Ōrehu at next year's Te Matatini is Ngāti Rangiwewehi, Tūhourangi-Ngāti Wahiao, Te Piki Kōtuku o Ngāti Rongomai and Te Hikuwai.