Topic: Kapa Haka

Trevor Maxwell pays tribute to Ngapo Wehi

By Mere McLean
  • Waikato/Bay of Plenty

Trevor Maxwell holds a vivid memory of a Waka Huia performance two decades ago, he says it was a game changer in Māori performing arts. 

The Te Arawa haka exponent says Ngapo Wehi and his wife Pimia Wehi left behind a record hard to top in competitive kapa haka.  

Maxwell says, "I remember standing in the wings because Waka Huia was on before us in the finals during the 1996 Aotearoa Māori performing arts festival, I had seen their performance the day before in the qualifying rounds, and they were good,"

That year, Ngāti Rangiwewehi won the competition known then as the Aotearoa Māori Performing Arts Festival.  

Te Waka Huia, tutored by Ngapo and Pimia Wehi has held the championship title 6 times.  

"He's leaving a record hard to beat I think it was just the respect and the admiration for what Bub and Nen have done for our beautiful performing arts, Māori performing arts." 

When the competition was over, Maxwell says that sometimes both teams would travel overseas performing and every time Ngapo showed exceptional leadership, "the thing is, that sums Bub up for me, he was highly competitive and highly respected."