Hui Ahurei a Tūhoe - Te Hokokura takes the stage

By Taroi Black

For more than four decades descendants have performed the tribe's renowned haka Te Puru. Te Puru was a metaphor used to describe the arrogance of colonial forces. This year the item has been replaced by a new haka Te Hokokura.

Te Hokokura echoes through the Ruatoki valley and resonates with the people.

And on its inaugural debut, Tūhoe's newest composition Te Hokokura is passionately performed on stage.

“We live in world where tradition meets the modern and this is all about looking forward 50 or 100 years ahead,” says Ngatai Rangihau from Ōhinemataroa ki Ruatahuna.

“I like the haka, Te Puru should be kept sacred,” says Tyler Tihi Pitau (Tūhoe ki Kawerau)

“It's time to put Te Puru to rest. I salute those who composed the new haka. It's a good haka,” says Hori Uatuku from Ngāti Koura.

Te Puru was composed in 1864 as Tūhoe's response to colonial invasion. Some descendants say they also want to maintain the history of Te Puru, so it will continue to perform it into the future.

Rangihau says, “My family advised me that we keep to tradition, and not discard Te Puru. That was our message today. And while I performed with the group who composed the new haka, I agree with the views of my family.”

Te Hokokura will not only feature here at the biannual festival but in time descendants will perform the new haka at any future events involving Tūhoe.