Members of Te Reanga Morehu o Ratana kapa haka group are very proud of their fifth consecutive win.
They came top at the Aotea region's kapa haka competition in Whanganui on June 18.
They got five placings in the aggregate section and achieved their goals, group member and chairman of the Te Reanga Morehu o Ratana Trust Kamaka Manuel said.
In the national competition, Te Matatini in Christchurch last year, Te Reanga was in the top 15 groups. Its choral item came third, and Te Oranga Tamou was judged third best female leader.
"I believe, without being boastful, that there's an awareness that we are creeping up the ladder," Mr Manuel said.
The ultimate aim was to place in the top nine groups, and win the competition.
Second on June 18 was Whanganui River group Te Matapihi. Third was Waitara's Nga Purapura o Te Tai Hauauru.
Also competing were New Plymouth group Tutu Ka'ika, Whanganui group Putiki Wharanui and Patea group Aotea Utanganui. And there were three groups of older performers - Nga Taikura o Te Awa o Whanganui, Nga Pakeke o Ratana and Te Taikura o Taranaki Ki Te Tonga, from Patea and Hawera.
The Whanganui and Ratana groups performed again at Te Papa Tongarewa last weekend.
The regional competition day in Whanganui was awesome, organiser Ants Patea said. It was at Springvale Stadium, with stalls, kai and nearly 90 volunteers to help set up, clean up and manage the stage.
"It was really inspiring."
Te Reanga had 36 people on stage that day. The female leader is Te Oranga Tamou, and Tema Hemi is the male leader. The lead tutor is Te Taepa Kameta, who has been in the role for about 10 years and is originally from Te Arawa.
He is helped by Sarah-Jane Tamou, Kane Tamou and Hubba Hoana-Titia.
Mr Kameta composes all the group's songs. Their theme is always the Ratana maramatanga (understanding) embodied in the words "kauhautia te rongopai" (spread the word of the gospel).
The ultimate goal is belief in Ihoa/Jehovah and unity within Maoridom and between Maori and Pakeha.
"It's the backbone of everything we do," Mr Manuel said.
Te Reanga will have a break now, though some members are busy helping the two Whanganui secondary school groups going to national kapa haka competitions in Hastings from July 24 to 29. They are Te Ngakau o Te Awa, from Cullinane College, and Te Potiki Hononga Kura, from the combined senior classes of Te Kura o Kokohuia and Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Tupoho.
From September Te Reanga will begin preparing for its national campaign, with a break for Christmas and lots of practice in January and February. In January it will perform an entertainment bracket at the annual Ratana celebrations.