From left, Wirihita, Piri, De’Sharna, Anatia, and Moengaroa from Te Rangiura o Wairarapa. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

Wairarapa’s kapa haka group Te Rangiura o Wairarapa have secured a spot in the kapa haka nationals next year after coming third at Ngati Kahungunu regionals on Saturday in Masterton.

Te Rangiura o Wairarapa will travel up to Auckland in February next year to compete at Te Matatini Herenga Waka, Herenga Tangata at Eden Park.

On Saturday, 14 kapa haka groups performed in the hopes of securing one of the four available spots in next year’s nationals.

Tiraumaera Te Tau from Te Puni Kokiri [Ministry of Maori Development] said in order to send four groups to nationals, there needed to be 14 groups at the regional competition.

Whanau and supporters of Te Rangiura o Wairarapa joined together to form another group two weeks before regionals to make this happen.

Te Tau said the group of 40 only practised four times before performing a full bracket at the competition on Saturday.

“They did really well.”

She said the groups that were chosen to go to nationals were amazing.

“It would be really hard to be a judge.”

Te Kapa o Ngati Ranginui took first place, Matangirau came second, Te Rangiura o Wairarapa came third, and Tamatea Arikinui came fourth.

Te Tau said the event was a huge thing for Wairarapa and it was great the region had been able to host it.

“It was a professional event that highlighted our kapa haka, te reo, and culture.”

She said hearing te reo Maori being spoken was a highlight of the competition along with Te Rangiura o Wairarapa’s performance.

Masterton Mayor Lyn Patterson said it was a great achievement to have Te Rangiura o Wairarapa make it to the nationals.

“It was an outstanding result.

“There seems to be a real renaissance right across the board – a revitalisation of kapa haka.”

She said it was great to see so many people watching the groups perform, and she enjoyed watching Te Rangiura o Wairarapa.

“Their performance was outstanding, and the poi was excellent.”

She said there was going to be stiff competition at nationals but there was no doubt Te Rangiura o Wairarapa would work hard and be at the forefront of the competition with Wairarapa’s support behind them.

Te Rangiura o Wairarapa would compete at Te Matatini Herenga Waka, Herenga Tangata to be held at Eden Park on February 23-27, 2021.