Te Arawa's strong presence at this year's Te Matatini has culminated in high honours yesterday for the three local groups that reached the finals.
The crowd erupted at the kapa haka festival prizegiving when Te Arawa's Te Pikikōtuku o Ngāti Rongomai placed second overall.
Tāmaki Makaurau's Ngā Tumanako were the overall winners and eastern Bay of Plenty's Te Kapa Haka o Te Whānau-ā-Apanui placed third.
Te Pikikōtuku o Ngāti Rongomai were one of three Te Arawa groups to make it into the finals yesterday, with Te Mātārae I Ōrehu and Tūhourangi-Ngāti Wāhiao.
The group were led by Tukiterangi and Renata Curtis, who said they were stunned to get that far in the competition and were "absolutely honoured, privileged and humbled".
They said this was the first time the group made it to the finals.
"The highlight was working as one with our kapa and supporters, and everything coming together."
Te Mātārae I Ōrehu, led by Wetini Mitai-Ngatai, also scooped several awards at the prizegiving, picking up a number of first places.
Mitai-Ngatai said his group's performance in the finals was a good one where everything went right.
The energy, lines and spacing were right on point, and everybody gave it their best, he said.
Te Mātārae I Ōrehu items were dedicated mostly to Talei Morrison and Mitai-Ngatai's father, Mina Mitai, who both died last year.
Tūhourangi Ngāti Wāhiao performer Te Mauri Kingi said it was exciting that all of the hard work, weekends sacrificed, and time and effort put in during the past three months of practice was recognised by the group making it to the top nine.
He said performing on the stage had been exciting, emotional and fulfilling.
Kingi said from his point of view the most exciting thing about being part of Te Matatini was the gathering of every type of iwi, Māori and other New Zealanders alike to celebrate Māori culture and language.
Te Matatini Kapa Haka Festival, which was held from Thursday to yesterday, showcases the best kapa haka talent from around New Zealand.
Te Arawa regional committee chairman Trevor Maxwell said the atmosphere had been wonderful.
"I am absolutely over the moon we came down here with six Te Arawa groups, and we've been supportive of each other.
"To get three teams into the final, we are feeling very proud indeed."
He said Te Matatini was like one big family reunion and he had enjoyed watching all the groups.
Te Pikikōtuku o Ngāti Rongomai
Ko ngā Toa Whakaihuwaka o Te Matatini Ki Te Ao 2019 — 2nd place
Titonga Hōu — Haka — 3rd place
Te Mātārae I Ōrehu
Kākahu — 1st place
Manukura Wahine — 1st place
Manukura Tāne — 3rd place
Titonga Hōu — Mōteatea — 1st place
Te Kairangi o Te Reo Ā-Tuhi — 1st place
Whakaeke — 1st place
Waiata Ā-Ringa — 1st place
Poi — 1st place
Kairangi o Te Mita o Te Reo Māori — 1st place
Waiata Tira — 2nd place
Titonga Hōu — Poi — 3rd place
Waiata Ā-Ringa — 3rd place
Poi — 2nd place
Kairangi o Te Mita o Te Reo Māori — 3rd place