The Waitaha Senior Kapa Haka Competition 2012 was staged recently at the Lincoln Events Centre in Christchurch. Nine senior teams competed in the May event and three – Te Ahikomau a Hamo te Rangi, Ngā Manu a Tāne and Te Kotahitanga – qualified to compete in Rotorua at Te Matatini 2013.
Christchurch based kapa haka group, Te Ahikaaroa, in response to the call for more competing teams, formed a sister group, Te Ahikomau a Hamo te Rangi. Both teams competed in the May event (both are tutored and lead by the same whānau) and Te Ahikomau a Hamo te Rangi were named winners of the event on the day.
Te Ahikomau a Hamo te Rangi (pictured here) dedicated their programme to those who lost their lives in the 2011 earthquake here in Otautahi on February 22nd. Their entrance or whakaeke, Kia Kaha Waitaha, was also the catchcry for the rebuild of Christchurch. The group’s waiata whakamaanawa or chant, Ka Karuerue Te Papa, described the turmoil that Otautahi went through during the earthquakes.
The team’s waiata-a-ringa and poi were dedicated to Te Pura-o-te-rangi Parata (Ngāi Tahu) who was on the committee that organised the inaugural New Zealand Polynesian Festival, held in Rotorua in 1972. He was also chairman of the committee that organised the 1986 Polynesian Festival in Christchurch.
It was perhaps no coincidence that on February 22, 2012, it was announced the Te Matatini Festival 2015 would be held in Otautahi – a great honour that will see all of Māoridom converge on Christchurch. Around 40 kapa haka teams are expected to compete in the event and hosts, Ngāi Tahu will be ready to reciprocate with the aroha, manaaki and generosity that was shown to us during our time of need. – Nā Adrienne Rewi.
Photographs by Phil Tumataroa, Te Runanga o Ngāi Tahu