Te Whakatōhea-based group Waioweka will perform for the first time at Te Matatini in Hawke's Bay next year.
The group made the top six at the Mataatua Kapa Haka Regional in Ruatoki at the weekend.
Te Kāea captured a warm spirited moment between the two teams of Te Whakatōhea.
Ria Brosnan and Steven Tai of Waioweka both lost for words after their group’s achievement,
Waioweka has qualified for Te Matatini for the first time after coming sixth to the reigning Mataatua champions, Ōpōtiki Mai Tawhiti.
Ricky Mitai of Opotiki Mai Tawhiti says, they used to be called Waioweka Nui a Kiwa, their grandchildren have returned to the performance stage to carry on the legacy. It was great to see Waioweka back in again.
Ōpōtiki stunned the crowd once again with their famous Māori song 'E Tama Hikairo' which pays tribute to King Tuheitia's grandchild Hikairo, who is also the nephew of the Māori King's daughter, Ngawaihono i Te Pō, who also stood for the group.
Te Matatini defending champions Te Whānau a-Apanui took second place, and they're still happy with the result.
Tamati Waaka says, “It's hard for us sometimes, but we’re happy we qualified, that's the main thing. But we want to also acknowledge our kaumātua teams who stood on the first day, it was because of them so many teams made it through.”
Former NRL star Wairangi Koopu featured in the third place winners, Tauira Mai Tawhiti.
Their performance paid tribute to his late father, Ned Koopu, a founding member of the group.
Tauranga-based team Tūtara Kauika ki Rangataua qualified again for Te Matatini earning the fifth spot, while the host team Te Kapa Haka o Ruatoki took fourth position.
A team on a high after a positive outcome with the event taking place on their home ground.