The Kahurangi Māori Dance Theatre is taking Māori culture to the Pacific and today officially launched a contract with Australia's P&O Cruises.
Kahurangi Māori Dance Theatre was established in the early 80's by Tama Huata and a team who shared his vision to present Māori performing arts in a dynamic and contemporary manner.
The CEO of Kahurangi Narelle Huata says, "This is a first a first for our group, for Kahurangi Māori Dance Theatre, so P&O are the first and then next month will be with Holland America. For us this is really big, for our employees that are performers of haka, for our employees that are involved in the arts, many doors will open for many who are involved in the arts at Kahurangi."
It's a contract which will put Kahurangi on the P&O cruise itinerary throughout the Pacific,
Huata says, "Its a seasonal contract but as we develop more we are hoping it will become more full-time. We had to showcase our skills to those that manage the cruise ships so we performed for them and they really liked what we had to offer in terms of haka."
The voyage will take them to the South Pacific where they will entertain tourists with the beauty of Māori culture.
Huata says, "We will showcase to them the skills and treasures of our ancestors within traditional weaving, traditional carving. We will share our stories, different learning classes, how to stand right and haka properly and also share knowledge of what we do in terms of entertainment."
P&O Cruises have sailed the South Pacific for 85 years and this could open up more opportunities for Kahurangi performers.
Huata says, "We've been doing this for a long time, more than thirty-five years. We've been to Canada, USA, Malaysia and all across the world."
P&O lost an opportunity to showcase Māori culture when it cancelled a voyage to Te Matatini 2019. With Kahurangi onboard anything is possible for Te Matatini 2021.