Five-time national champions, Te Waka Huia, packed out the viewing areas this morning as they took to the stage at Te Matatini 2015.
The name "Te Waka Huia" was given by Dr Ngapo Wehi, meaning a taonga containing precious treasures, as he perceived each member as an individual treasure of the group.
Te Waka Huia was first formed as a whānau group when Ngapo and Pimia relocated from Waihirere, Gisborne to Auckland. At the request of immediate family members keen to pursue Māori culture through performing arts, Te Waka Huia was born.
In 1986, they made kapa haka history being the first group to win a national competition as debutantes to the event, which was the last nationals held in Christchurch.
The Auckland-based group is tutored and lead by Tāpeta and Annette Wehi, and have a long-standing record of placing in the top tier of elite haka groups.
At the last Te Matatini Festival in Rotorua, they won the overall Duncan McIntyre Trophy, which they returned yesterday during the pōhiri at Pūtaringamotu.
Here's a snippet from last year's Tāmaki Makaurau regionals:
Their chosen item for today is the whakawātea, Te Tatangi o te Whare Karioi.