Kapa haka group count down to big day

A Waikato-based kapa haka group is set to take the stage at the upcoming Tainui Waka Kapa Haka regional festival on Saturday.

Te Iti Kahurangi, with almost 60 members, has been practising each weekend for the last six months.

Members of Te Iti Kahurangi rehearse for the 2014 Tainui Waka Kapa Haka regionals. Photos: Alyson Eberle
Members of Te Iti Kahurangi rehearse for the 2014 Tainui Waka Kapa Haka regionals. Photos: Alyson Eberle

Kingi Kiriona, a Māori achievement manager at Wintec, is the leader of the senior kapa haka group and is very proud of the dedication that each member brings.

“The members in the group are our family away from family, our home away from home,” said Kiriona on Saturday at one of the final practices before the regionals.

The group also performs at other events and festivals around the Waikato area, but Tainui Waka Kapa Haka festival “is the highlight of the kapa haka calendar”, Kiriona said.

Te Iti Kahurangi, which translates to “pursuit of excellence”, formed in 2000, starting with 12 members.

Te Waipounamu Teinakore, one of the founding members said: “We were a group of 12 and we decided to see if any of our other family or friends had an interest in performing.”

It seems that there was a lot of interest as the group has grown for 11 years and the performers’ family and friends also show plenty of support.

“Generations of family and friends make up the group, our family help in different ways outside of performing, even our mother cooks for the group,” said Teinakore who performs along with three of her sisters.

Winning isn’t their only motivation, the members of Te Iti Kahurangi have “passion and love” for performing.

“We do it to enhance life, to promote health and wellbeing and to spread around education,” Kiriona said. “Also because of the joy we see in each other when we walk off the stage.”

  • Tainui Waka Kapa Haka will be held on March 8 at Claudelands Event Centre in Hamilton, with doors opening at 7am.