30 Mar 2018

Future leaders of Tūhoe take to kapa haka stage

9:41 pm on 30 March 2018

It was the turn of the future leaders of Tūhoe to take to the kapa haka stage on the first day of Te Hui Ahurei ā Tūhoe.

The festival has been held within the Tūhoe region in the heartland of Te Urewera for almost 50 years - but this Easter weekend it returns to Rotorua where it was first held in 1974.

Thousands of people streamed into Rotorua International Stadium to watch 12 junior kapa haka teams showcase their tūhoetanga on stage.

From young pre-schoolers to teens - the hapū-based groups and whānau teams came from across the Tūhoe tribal boundaries and also from Wellington, Auckland and Hamilton.

The overall winner of today's competition was the Te Kura o Tāwera a small Tūhoe school near Ruatoki.

The school's close neighbour Te Kura o Taneatua came runners up, while Auckland based group Te Tira Hōu, came in third.

Ruatahuna group Ōhinemataroa won the aggregate competition, while Te Kura o Tāwera took out the non-aggregate competition.

South Auckland community leader Rangi McLean was watching his mokopuna compete in today's competition.

"[The kapa haka] is bringing with us all of our aspirations of all our young upcoming leaders," he said.

"Not our leaders of tomorrow - our leaders of right now."

Mr McLean has lived in Auckland for more than 60 years and said it was important Tūhoe's young performers had the opportunity to perform onstage together.

"It builds the heart and it strengthens the wairua [spirit] and also strengthens the hinengaro [mind]."

The senior kapa haka competition and sporting events begin tomorrow.