The regionals are done and dusted and now the kapa haka performers from Te Matarae i Orehu, Nga Uri o Te Whanoa, Tuhourangi Ngati Wahiao, Ngati Rangiwewehi, Kataore and Te Pikikotuku o Rongomai can look forward to next year's Te Matatini national kapa haka festival in Christchurch.

While there were some great teams who missed out, the teams who did make it came as no surprise.

Wetini Mitai-Ngatai's Te Matarae i Orehu have taken top honours at this year's regionals but, when it comes to the nationals, being ranked number one means little. However, the group have two national titles to their name, so it means they are always a threat.

One of the best words to describe Nga Uri o Te Whanoa has to be consistent. They have made every nationals since their inception in 2007. So it was no surprise to see them feature again this year.


Tuhorangi Ngati Wahiao are one of the oldest Te Arawa groups. But when it comes to performing there is nothing remotely old about them, they always perform with passion and vigour. It's great to see Ngati Rangiwewehi make a welcome return to the nationals, having won the title twice (1983 and 1996).

Probably one of the most popular groups to perform at the weekend was Kataore.

If the competition had been decided on the applause given, then Kataore would have won, hands down.

This will be the group's second nationals and they will be looking forward to representing the iwi once again.

When Te Pikikotuku o Rongomai were announced as the sixth team to go to the nationals, those in the know would not have been surprised, even though it was their first regionals. With Tuki Curtis the main man behind the scenes, this group were always going to feature prominently.

Congratulations to all the performers at this weekend's Te Arawa regionals. As always, the iwi put on a kapa haka festival like no other, and it was testament to the organisers that this year's event was a sellout.

Formerly at the Rotorua Daily Post, Greg Taipari is now chief reporter at Hawke's Bay Today.