- Antonia Quinn
Koroneihana inspires wero for tertiary level Kapa Haka
This year marked the first Koroneihana held in person up at Turangawaewae in 3 years. For Te Waiora, the University of Waikato’s Māori student association, it marked the beginnings of a new wero for tauira māori: tertiary level kapa haka.
Maumahara (Te Tai Rawhiti, Kanaka Maoli) secretary of Te Waiora, had a kōrero with us about future proofing kapa haka not only for tauira at Te Whare Wananga ki Waikato, but also for tauira māori across the motu. This wave of inspiration comes from Te Waiora’s recent kapa haka performance at Koroneihana. “It’s probably the biggest kaupapa on our calendar and is integral to other mahi Te Waiora does as a roopu Māori” Maumahara states. Tauira from Te Waiora practised for roughly two and a half months, and with the last koroneihana being celebrated in person in 2019, “we wanted to come out with a bang”. “Not just to show what Te Waiora can do and show what we offer for our tauira, but our feet were itching to get back on stage, perform and enjoy hakas again.” This sense of whakawhanaungatanga can be seen in their bracket as their kapa haka lines “were majority first or second year tauira” as a huge influx of new tauira came flooding into Te Waiora i tēnei tau. Maumahara says that this was done with the intention of “enhancing the culture of Te Waiora.” Te Waiora prioritise “showing our teina that they can feel comfortable and safe with our kaupapa” and as Maumahara put it, “our job as the old bags/tuakana is to support our teina.” “It was really cool to be able to perform with them and have them in our front lines, at the end of the day building peoples’ confidence and the overall atmosphere and wairua of Te Waiora has been our goal.”
To add, Maumahara highlights “being able to see and perform with past alumni and all the past students of Te Waiora, the very people who established Te Waiora,” has been a real cherry on top. “He whānau, he āhurutanga” she describes her experience as a tuakana (or old bag lol) for tauira but also as a proud wāhine Māori from Te Waiora.
Strengthening this roopu māori values such as aroha, whakapono and whanaungatanga can be further implemented for the upcoming kaupapa that Te Waiora have on for the rest of the semester. Te Waiora would like to introduce Kaapuia, (Maumahara says, if you’ve heard of huinga it’s like that but a smaller version) a new and exciting kaupapa tauira māori across the motu can look forward to. “One weekend with the sole purpose of kapa haka.” Maumahara says that the idea for this came from Te Waiora’s “love for kapa haka, tikanga māori” and being unapologetically Māori. “What we want people to see is that there's so many tertiary Māori students that have the skills to execute Matatini level kapa haka and there’s kapa haka for everybody - the only space that isn’t filled yet is for tertiary students.” Maumahara says. “Future proofing” is te wawata for Te Waiora and although it might seem insignificant to other people that “talk about te reo and tikanga māori and our children being our next generation” of tauira, of leaders. It should be normalised to continue pushing for performing arts and enhancing our wairua through these Te Ao Māori standards.
Us right now, today, get to add to our ketes of knowledge and prepare for future generations to come. It is up to us to continue sharing these gifts that have been shared with us and continue the normalisation and integration of Te Ao Māori in all facets of our lives.
Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air.