Te Kapa Haka o Kairanga are the first to grace the Te Matatini national stage this morning at Pūtaringamotu in Christchurch, and have set the standard high for today's performances.
In 1998, Te Rōpū Haka O Kairanga was established to allow members to perform in the NZ Army’s inaugural cultural festival held in Waiouru in 1999. The name "Kairanga" was chosen for the group, drawing upon the significance of Linton Camp and its location pertaining to Ngāti Hineaute.
In 2006, Kairanga represented for the first time competing at the Te Mata Waiora Kapa Haka Regionals held in Palmerston North.
A sense of pride and eagerness manifests within the group. They remain poised for battle as the opening act and uplifted by the fact they are the first military group in history to perform at Te Matatini.
Their mission is to promote and sustain the cultural ethos of Ngāti Tūmatauenga utilising Māori Performing Arts (MPA) as a means to bridge cultural inequalities in modern society.
They aim to do this by providing a developmental platform for whānau and soldiers, using MPA as the linchpin to foster commitment, courage, comradeship and integrity. By doing this, they are able to have an influence on “operational effectiveness” at home, work, society and on active service around the world.
The group leaders are Pita Savage, Mark te Hau, Nigo Maruera and Kristal Koia.
The poi they performed today is called, Taku Manu Wheko Ata.
Here's their waiata ā-ringa from last year's Rangitāne Tangata Rau regionals.