23 Oct 2014

Haka group chosen for Olympic awards

6:49 pm on 23 October 2014

The best of Maori performing arts has been chosen above other cultures in the South Pacific to represent the Oceania region at the Association of National Olympic Committee Gala awards.

Te Matatini Society executive director Darrin Apanui.

Darrin Apanui - an honour to be selected. Photo: RNZ

Te Matatini Kapa Haka will not only represent New Zealand but Australia, the Pacific Islands, The Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia - all of the countries that make up Oceania - on 7 November.

A team of 12 people will perform with indigenous representatives from five other continents in the Thai capital, Bangkok.

Te Matatini executive Darrin Apanui said it's a humble honour to be selected to represent this corner of the globe and is aware that Oceania covers many indigenous cultures.

Mr Apanui said he spoke to the World Organisation in Bangkok in July, he told them that Te Matatini would be bringing the very best of kapa haka and no other indigenous art form from Oceania.

Mr Apanui asked them if they would be comfortable with that and said their response was that they only expected them to showcase the very best of what Te Matatini can offer. He said he found that quite heartening.

The bracket is called Navigating Oceania and centres on the narratives about different encounters that our ancestors overcame as they crossed the Pacific waters.

Members come from award-winning groups such as Te Waka Huia, Te Matarae i Orehu, Te Iti Kahurangi, Tu Te Manawa Maurea and Tuhourangi - Ngati Wahiao.

For many it will be the first time that they have joined together as one group for such an occasion. It will be televised throughout Asia, Europe and the Americas.

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