TE Kapa Haka o Te Whanau a Apanui placed third at the national kapa haka competition, Te Matatini.
The competition took place at Westpac Stadium, Wellington, over four days last week. It came to an end on Sunday following an intense competition and results ceremony.
Te Whanau a Apanui was one of 46 to compete in the competition. The group was also one of five to represent Mataatua in the finals.
Their performance paid tribute to Te Kooti Arikirangi, founder of the Ringatu Church, his teachings and the relationships fostered between him and the iwi.
Their performance also marked two events of significance in 2018, 150 years since Te Kooti arrived at Whareongaonga, and 125 years since his passing.
Te Whanau a Apanui competed on Thursday in a pool that also included two Mataatua groups, Opotiki Mai Tawhiti and Te Kapa Haka o Ruatoki.
Along with Te Whanau a Apanui, Tainui representative Te Iti Kahurangi and Te Arawa group Tuhourangi Ngati Wahiao topped the first pool and scored a place in the finals.
The other finalists were: Tainui roopu (groups), Motai Tangata Rau and Te Pou o Mangataawhiri; Te Arawa representatives Te Matarae I Orehu and Te Pikikotuku o Ngati Rongomai; Tamaki Makaurau’s Nga Tumanako and from Te Tairawhiti, Whangara Mai Tawhiti, the previous competition winners.
This year, Nga Tumanako, from Auckland, took out the competition and were awarded the Ngapo and Pimia Wehi Duncan McIntyre Trophy, with a performance that centred on the revitalisation of te reo Maori.
Second place went to Te Pikikotuku o Ngati Rongomai.
Te Whanau a Apanui claimed four taonga with their first performance.
They won best original composition overall and scored the top placing for their moteatea, haka and poi. They also led in the top three for their kakahu (clothing), te kairangi o te reo a-tuhi (quality of te reo Maori) and whakaeke (entrance).
Greater Wellington Regional Council chairman Chris Laidlaw said more than 60,000 people headed to Wellington for the event.
“Te Matatini proves that a whanau-friendly event can draw a significant crowd.
“Performers, whanau and fans travelled far and wide and an excellent team of volunteers made sure that they felt welcome.
“Te Matatini should serve as an example for other event organisers on how to bring people into a region and care for them. The council hopes that Te Matatini returns to the region in the future,” he said.