Ngati Whakaue is heading to Te Matatini for the first time in 35 years.

More than 20 teams gave incredible performances on the Te Arawa Kapa Haka Regional Festival stage at the Rotorua Events Centre on Friday and Saturda, competing for six positions at Te Matatini National Kapa Haka Festival 2019 in Wellington.

A huge round of applause erupted when Ngati Whakaue.

Previous winners Te Matarae I Orehu was once again named overall winner and will be joined by Te Pikikotuku o Ngati Rongomai, Tuhourangi Ngati Wahiao, Ngati Rangiwewehi, Ngati Whakaue and Te Hikuwai in representing Te Arawa next year.

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Ngati Whakaue are headed to Te Matatini for the first time in 35 years. Photo/Shareena Dixon
Ngati Whakaue are headed to Te Matatini for the first time in 35 years. Photo/Shareena Dixon

Te Arawa Kapa Haka Charitable Trust chairman Trevor Maxwell said all of the teams were "worthy representatives of Te Arawa" but Ngati Whakaue were celebrating most of all.

For first-time head tutor Tenga Rangitauira the result has been overwhelming.

"I feel bad for my whanau in Te Matarae I Orehu that our Cinderella story, as they're calling it, has almost overshadowed their win."

The win hadn't yet sunk it, Rangitauira said.

The Ngati Whakaue team performing on the Te Arawa Kapa Haka Regional Festival stage. Photo/Shareena Dixon
The Ngati Whakaue team performing on the Te Arawa Kapa Haka Regional Festival stage. Photo/Shareena Dixon

"It's overwhelming for us as performers, but also for our tribe and especially our koeke [elders].

"It's been a long hard struggle and some of those who performed in 1981 and 1983 have shed a tear of happiness."

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All the items in the Ngati Whakaue lineup were dedicated to stories from within Whakaue.

The Tuhourangi Ngati Wahio group looking fierce up on stage. Photo/Shareena Dixon
The Tuhourangi Ngati Wahio group looking fierce up on stage. Photo/Shareena Dixon

"Our motto going into this year was to tell our stories and to tell them well," Rangitauira said.

"Every item was different, and whether or not we got through to Te Matatini, if we did that if we told our stories really well, nothing else mattered."

The whakaeke (entrance song) and waiata moteatea (traditional chant) were Rangitauira's favourite part of the performance.

Te Hikuwai perform a haka with taiaha in full force. Photo/Shareena Dixon
Te Hikuwai perform a haka with taiaha in full force. Photo/Shareena Dixon

"Both were very old Whakaue songs that we revived for the stage, I really felt we did them justice."

Te Matatini Rangitauira would reveal even more Ngati Whakaue influence.

"We want to do our own style, we want to be Whakaue.

"We are not going there for anything but to represent our tribe, it's exciting."

Aggregate awards
Whakaeke (Ruihana Trophy)
1. Te Pikikotuku o Ngati Rongomai, Te Matarae I Orehu
2. Te Hikuwai, Ngati Whakaue

Moteatea (Tenga Rangitauira Trophy)
1. Te Pikikotuku o Ngati Rongomai
2. Ngati Whakaue, Ngati Rangiwewehi

Waiataaa ringa (Kahu Morrison Memorial Trophy)
1. Te Hikuwai, Tuhourangi/ Ngati Wahiao, Ngati Rangiwewehi

Poi (Kato Flavell Memorial Trophy, Makereti Papakura Trophy)
1. Tuhourangi/ Ngati Wahiao
2. Te Matarae I Orehu
3. Te Hikuwai, Te Pikikotuku o Ngati Rongomai

Haka (Ngawhare Te Rangipuawhe Maika Trophy)
1. Te Matarae I Orehu, Ngati Rangiwewehi
3. Ngati Tarawhai

Whakamutunga – Whakawatea (TK Enterprises Trophy)
1. Te Hikuwai, Te Matarae I Orehu
3. Tuhourangi/ Ngati Wahiao

Te Reo (Rawiri Rangitauira Memorial Trophy)
1.Te Pikikotuku o Ngāti Rongomai, Te Matarae I Orehu, Ngati Tarawhai

Aggregate placegetters qualifying for Te Matatini 2019
1. Te Matarae I Orehu
2. Te Pikikotuku o Ngāti Rongomai
3. Tuhourangi/ Ngati Wahiao
4. Ngati Rangiwewehi
5. Ngati Whakaue
6. Te Hikuwai