Kahungunu-2Kahungunu-3While some performers at the 2016 Ngāti Kahungunu Regional Competitions might have been upset with a 12 place finish, the performers of the Te Reo o Te Kōhanga ki Kahungunu were not. In fact, weeks after the performance they are still beaming with pride about their performance. It’s been 2 weeks since the group came together, and I just happened to be at wananga for students of the Kōhanga Reo Teaching Qualification Whakapakari Tino Rangatiratanga. About 10 of the group are there, either participating or cooking.

When I talk to Whaea Rose- the female leader, who works as the kaiako of Moteo Kōhanga Reo, she still smiles about it. “You know, for our group, winning was never the goal,” she says. “For us, it was about having Kōhanga  reo whānau representing our kaupapa, showing our support for our iwi in the lead up to Matatini in 2017.”

Te Reo o Te Kōhanga ki Kahungunu is one of several ” Te Reo o Te Kōhanga” groups around the country, and is made up of Kōhanga reo kaimahi and whānau from around Ngāti Kahungunu. While the majority of this years group came from Kōhanga reo in Napier, membership is open to whānau from Nuhaka to the north down to Masterton in the south.

One of the groups performers, Whaea Piri- who is a Kaiako at Heretaunga Kōhanga Reo in  Camberley is quick to point out that their group is unique. “It’s like a Kōhanga reo- it has a real whānau feel, especially for me.

My girls got to perform with us, alongside her aunties, her uncle and some of her nanny’s.”

As we talk, some of the members have started an impromptu waiata session out the back of Timi Kara Marae, singing the song they performed as their poi. Two of the mokopuna start singing along. “Yep. All of our babies know our items, “Whaea Rose explains. “I think most of them knew the bracket before the adults.”

Te Reo o Te Kōhanga ki Kahungunu practiced two hours a week for 8 weeks, in both Hastings and Napier, and it wasn’t until the week before that most of the group were able to stand together. An addition to the group was made only 1 hour before they took the stage, this being Kahungunu District Manager- Leon Hawea.

Leon had this to say about the performance. “Our performance was fantastic, given the short time and the limited resources. We weren’t the biggest group but our whānau really went out there and gave it their all especially in their haka.”Matatini-2017

While other groups on the day took some of the key issues of the day on the stage like TPPA and Youth Suicide, Te reo o Te Kōhanga Ki Kahungunu dedicated their performance to the memory of key Kōhanga reo figures who had passed like Henrietta Maxwell and more recently Mereiwa Broughton.

When Whaea Rose was asked to name a highlight, she spoke about the haka tautoko performed as they walked off stage.” It was our babies, our kids… they didn’t hesitate, they just got up and did it…I cried, because it shows that we really are doing a great job in Kōhanga. I can’t wait for next regionals…”

Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi is delighted to be hosting the worlds largest Kapa Haka Competition in 2017.


       22-26 FEBRUARY 2017

 Ko te amorangi ki mua, ko te hāpai-ō ki muri.

Te tūturutanga mahi pono o te Māori mana motuhake.

He mangōpare amohia o te waka tapu, Takitimu, hei whakakuititanga, hei whakakitenga.

E rere e te huata, hopukia!

E rere e te mānuka, tomokia!