Wellington haka groups will be faced with a new challenge this weekend when they take the stage for their regional competition. The karanga is a traditional element of Māori protocol, now teams have the option of using it in their performances.
The karanga, it's the first call to be heard on the marae. Now, it will take centre stage under a new format.
Te Teira Davis says, "Wellington has continued to have the whaikōrero (oratory) in the regionals format. This time around we're giving women the opportunity to include the karanga (call) in a section."
But Hema Temara, a well-known and traditional caller in the Wellington Region, believes this idea is meddling with tradition.
She says, "I understand why we have our kids call when they return home into Ngāi Tūhoe but to do it willingly means there's no actual room for understanding."
It is up to each team to decide whether they want to include the karanga in their bracket, and it is for the judges to make sure they are clear on how to judge the caller.
Davis says, "Those judges will be exponents in this section, that can also be flexible in judging each iwi that compete."
An up-and-coming team is Te Rau Taiohi, and their tutor Rahera Davies looks forward to the new challenge of the karanga.
She says, "This is also a discussion between the tutors and the performers. So if I have the right to choose a performer to call then it's my job to give them the best advise."
Nine teams will battle it out on Saturday to make the top three qualifications for the 2017 Matatini Festival in Ngati Kahungunu.