Auckland-based kapa haka group Te Waka Huia has claimed the title of best kapa haka group in New Zealand.
Thousands flocked to Te Matatini Kapa Haka Festival, which was held in Rotorua recently, to watch the best kapa haka performers from across the country.
“Te Matatini is a major national cultural event closely followed by Kiwis and it’s a wonderful accomplishment yet again for our Auckland champions Te Waka Huia,” says Auckland Mayor Len Brown.
“They have claimed the title for a record-equaling fifth time, and their dedication and commitment to kapa haka is inspiring.”
Te Waka Huia manager Annette Wehi, said after nearly five months of gruelling training, they were ‘absolutely over the moon’ with the win.
She said the performance was a tribute to their ‘mum’ Dr Pimia Wehi, and her husband Dr Ngapo Wehi – both founders of Te Waka Huia.
“We lost our mum two years ago and this performance was a tribute to her.
“Pimia and Ngapo have given us more than 30 years of training and support – not just in kapa haka, but in life. They’ve provided marriage guidance and support with our children – and this performance was for them.”
Te Waka Huia, which receives support from Auckland Council, is now expected to perform in international engagements over the next two years.
Te Waka Huia won the title of best kapa haka group at the festival in 2009, 1994, 1992 and 1986. They will defend their title in 2015.