Ngā Tūmanako, the new winners of the national kapa haka competition, Te Matatini, and their peer groups - Waka Huia, Manu Huia, Te Roopū Manutaki, will be welcomed home to Tāmaki rohe this afternoon.
Ngā Tūmanako were recently crowned champions of Te Matatini Ki Te Ao following the end of performances of the finals day, Te Matangirua.
Winners announcement, Te Matatini Ki Te Ao Prizegiving - Video / File
Leaders Kawariki Morgan and Marama Jones spoke to Piripi Taylor after the announcement, expressing their excitement and gratitude, as well as congratulating the other eight groups that battled it out in the Top 9.
Morgan says that their result was an acknowledgement of the Kōhanga Reo, of Kura Kaupapa and Wharekura and the benefits that have come from those initiatives.
The win also means that Ngā Tūmanako will be defending their title on home turf come the 2021 Te Matatini Festival.
Jones says it's a "scary" thought, "a huge task ahead". Morgan adds it's a testament to the principles of which they live by; hard work, faith and courage.
"It's a testament to the principles we live by; hard work, faith and courage," Kawariki Morgan - Photo / File
Most of the 46 teams that competed at Te Matatini Ki Te Ao in Pōneke will be returning to their respective rohe today. Whānau at Hoani Waititi Marae are expecting over 300 people for their pōwhiri this afternoon, and have put the call out to their community to support the auspicious occasion.
Along with the Tāmaki groups returning to Auckland today, they will also be taking Te Mauri o Te Matatini with them as the next rohe hosts of the competition. It is understood that Te Taha Tū is accompanying the mauri but may arrive later in the evening.
Te Whanganui-a-Tara hosts; Ngāti Toa Rangatira, Te Ātiawa Taranaki Whānui and Ngāti Raukawa handed over the mauri to Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei Tāmaki rohe representatives at the conclusion of Te Matatini Ki Te Ao.
The next Te Matatini will be held at Eden Park in 2021.