Topics: Entertainment, Kapa Haka

Ngapo Wehi helped me write gay haka – Mika

Entertainer Mika says kapa haka stalwart, the-late Ngapo Wehi, helped him compose what he describes as a 'gay haka'.

Written in 1992, the haka is called Tenei Tōku Ure, meaning, This Is My Penis,

“It was aimed at takatāpui Maori men to realise that we get HIV AIDS as well,” Mika says.

Wehi, who was Mika’s te reo Māori teacher, was a prominent kapa haka performer and leader.  With his wife Pimia, he tutored top groups Waihirere and Te Waka Huia and lead them to many national titles.  He died in 2016.

Mika says Wehi supported him because of his honest approach in confronting important issues.

“They knew I was doing haka in high heeled shoes. But I wasn’t doing haka in high heel shoes to upset people.  I was doing it because there are trans people who were doing it, haka every night on the backstreets of K Road, just to survive without being killed. “

Wehi’s son Tapeta says his father was very supportive of Mika and that his father always composed haka that were relevant and forward-thinking.

In 1994, during the AIDS epidemic Wehi wrote a haka about the illness at the national kapa haka competition in Hawera with group Te Waka Huia.  They won the competition that year.

“His message was through haka, and with our takatāpui whanau, he was extending his hand out to them as well,” Tapeta says.

Mika has paid homage to Wehi in his new biography, titled I Have Loved Me a Man, which launches next week.

For the full interview, watch Native Affairs, Monday at 8pm.