Te Matatini released the draw last night for the Te Kāhu o Te Amorangi competition. The 48 qualifying teams will compete for the Duncan McIntyre Memorial Trophy at Hawkes Bay Sports Park, Napier next February. Teams around the country will now begin preparations now the draw is confirmed.
Melodious greetings from Te Kahu o Te Amorangi signalling a welcome but now it's time to get to work.
Ōpōtiki Mai Tawhiti leader Te Kahautu Maxwell told Te Kāea, “We need to be aggressive in order to excel to the wave of success that will lead us to the common goal.”
Auckland's Te Manu Huia will take the stage first on the first day of competition, which has been split in to three pools of 16 teams.
In Te Haumi, a rather experienced line-up. With current national champions, Te Whānau a Apanui joined by Te Hikuwai, and Auckland's Ngā Tūmanako.
Ōpōtiki Mai Tawhiti lead the charge on the third day of competition, joined by Waihirere and Te Waka Huia. Newcomers, Te Kāheru Matarau a Hauā will perform last.
Mōtai Tangata Rau leader Paraone Gloyne says, “I must honour those teams who were less fortunate. It is up to the teams who have qualified to represent those who did not.”
After the big announcement of the draw, the biggest question is who is swimming in 'the pool of death'?
“That's no problem to me when or in what order we stand. That is fine with us,” says Pauline Hopa from Hātea.
“I don't really believe in that sort of thing because, and I'll go back to what I said - a competition is a competition,” says Dan Vaka from Ngāti Rangiwewehi.
Te Mātarae i Ōrehu will perform last on the first day of competition, rounding out Te Ihu.
“Every year, and every competition is slightly different. Sometimes the judging panel prefer a very Māori performance, others may take a liking to the 'production' style,” says Mataia Keepa from Te Mātārae i Ōrehu
Tāmaki Makaurau's Te Taha Tū have been edging towards qualification for seven years now. The dream was further cemented for them.
“My heart is beating for our family at home watching. Formal greetings to three or more people,” says Ngahiriwa Tai Tin from Te Taha Tū.
Te Matatini Chair Herewini Parata said, “To me, the teams are spread quite evenly, much how they are spread across the country. So now that is done now - practise!”
A sentiment that will be heeded by the country right until the competitions.