On the 23rd – 26th June 2017 our Ngātiwai Kaumātua Rōpū travelled to Te Papa in Wellington to perform and celebrate 2 days of kaumātua kapa haka where they participated with over 500 other kaumātua from around Aotearoa for the 2017 Matariki Celebrations.
The annual kaumātua kapa haka has become a highlight of Wellington’s annual Matariki celebrations. The festival is in its 10th year and our Ngātiwai kaumātua rōpū, all over the age of 50, performed as the first ever rōpū from Te Tai Tokerau. The organisers and tāngata whenua made them very welcome and were expressing their delight at Ngātiwai kaumātua for making the long journey.
The weekend long event showcased tribal waiata and haka in what has been called the biggest kaumātua kapa haka ever hosted.
Liz Flower of the Ngātiwai Education unit – Te Au Here o Tūkaiaia says, “Kaumātua kapa haka is all about participation and whakawhanaungatanga (relationships/family connections). Kaumātua came from all around Aotearoa, not for the competition, but rather to enjoy each other’s company and keep their history alive.”
“Our Ngātiwai kaumātua rōpū have been practising every week since March in preparation for this festival.”
Ngātiwai kaumātua rōpū member, Bubbles Mita says, “It was an awesome experience to travel to Wellington to take part in this festival and show all the hard work our rōpū has put in over many months.”
“We were so proud to be able to travel down and represent all of Ngātiwai.”
“Getting up on stage, I was nervous as hell! But the feeling when we came off was such a buzz.”
“On behalf of the rōpū I would like to thank whāea Liz Flower, Gayle Dowsett, Angeline Waetford, The Ngātiwai Trust Board and everyone else that helped get us to Wellington. Their support and commitment to our rōpū has been nothing but outstanding.”
The Ngātiwai rōpū have had a “debrief” since their trip and are already talking and planning for next year’s event.
Many positive responses from kaumātua were aired at the debrief, with whaea Georgina Haika talking about how she didn’t want to go initially, as she thought she would find it difficult physically but was very glad that she had gone.
Whaea Georgina went on to say “Thank you, thank you, thank you for a wonderful trip, I thoroughly enjoyed myself.”
Watch the Day 1 performance of our Kaumātua on the YouTube clip below. Ka Rawe!
** Photos courtesy of Te Papa Museum Wellington