Te Matatini - Kaimahi on stage, in front and behind the scenes

Te Puni Kōkiri has been a proud supporter of Te Matatini for 50 years. A number of our kaimahi are involved in Te Matatini in other ways - as performers, commentators or organisers.

Published: Rāapa, 15 Huitanguru, 2023 | Wednesday, 15 February 2023

Te Puni Kōkiri has been a proud supporter of Te Matatini Herenga Waka, Herenga Tangata for 50 years and this year is no different. We will have kaimahi from across the Ministry working at our stall at Te Matatini 2023, providing manuhiri with good kōrero and the right information to support their business, whenua, housing, whānau, hapū and iwi aspirations.

We also have kaimahi that are involved in Te Matatini in other ways. Below is the first of a series of stories that showcase these kaimahi - why they are passionate and committed to kapa haka as performers on stage, supporting the kaupapa as a commentator or working with the organising team.


It was like an infectious fever that you couldn’t shake

Teia Savage, Senior Advisor Property & Facilities, Organisational Support Puni.

Ki ngā taha o Pāpā:

Ko Tāwhiuau rāua ko Matawhaura ngā maunga

Ko Rangitahi, ko Tapuaeharuru ngā marae

Ko Rangitaiki te awa

Ko Rotoiti te roto

Ko Ngāti Manawa rāua ko Ngāti Pikiao ngā iwi

Ko Mataatua rāua ko Te Arawa ngā waka

Ki ngā taha o Māmā:

Ko Tararua rāua ko Tihirau ngā maunga

Ko Rangitīkei rāua ko Tauranga ngā wai/awa

Ko Parewahawaha, ko Te Māru o Hinemakahō ngā marae

Ko Te Whānau a Pararki me Ngāti Parewahawaha ngā hapū

Ko Ngāti Raukawa me Te Whānau-a-Apanui ngā iwi

As a child I would see all my nannies, koro’s, aunties and uncles entertaining manuhiri, whether it was at the Marae or at various kaupapa or just at kapa haka practice.

It was like an infectious fever that you couldn’t shake. Next minute you’re in the lines too, doing the haka, singing the songs.

Practicing at Parewanui Beach in Scotts Ferry.

I can’t recall what age I was when I started, but I was old enough to understand it, and love it. My love and passion for Kapa Haka only grew as I got older. I didn’t actually start performing on stage competitively until I reached high school. Going from haka pōwhiri to haka on stage started with a collection of students from four separate schools in Palmerston North called Te Piringa. My tutors at the time were Tipene Waihi, Tina Blake, Tiya Blake, Leon Blake, Heni Pewhairangi, Ora Taukamo, Pita Savage and many more.

All my whānau have been my mentors throughout my life and everyone I have crossed paths with have in some way, shape, or form, influenced me. It only feels right to carry it on and pass it down to all my babies, that is my why.

Hakas is a lifestyle, a way of life. The treasures we keep, stories we remember, knowledge we share so that it is not forgotten is all a part of it. My biggest goal at Te Matatini 2023 is for our group Te Tini o Rehua to not only become a strong group but a strong whānau. The unity it brings amongst our people, the time we get to spend with the ones we love the most. It all goes hand in hand, and my aspiration is to keep that fire burning. Also not coming last would be nice.

We have had wānanga every month in preparation since COVID-19 restrictions were lifted. Fundraising has been a crucial part of our campaign as well as saving money, wherever possible. And mahi kāinga (homework) has also been a big one for us to ensure we can be as prepared as possible.

Te Tini O Rehua Rangitāne Tangata Rau regional competition 2018. Image credit: See Creative.

It’s always encouraged by each other to have a healthy mindset and body when coming into Kapa Haka, and there are many variations of how that can look, if you know in yourself you are ready, then you will be kei te pai. Plus, once you get on to the stage, there is no going back. Okea Ururoatia.

Te Puni Kōkiri has also played a major part. If I didn’t work here, I couldn’t afford to go. Overall, my colleagues that do know I will be performing are always supportive, ahakoa te aha! and the team I’m in are the best hype crew ever.

Good luck to everyone who is performing and a big mihi to all the supporters, ringawera and Hāpai ō for getting all of us to Te Matatini Herenga Waka Herenga Tangata 2023! Whiua ki te Ao!

Lead image caption: Teia Savage (centre) performing with Te Tini O Rehua at Te Matatini ki te Ao 2019.