The hardest part came early for Kahurangi Maxwell.
The Senior Specialist Marketing for Te Wānanga o Aotearoa couldn’t be more Ngāti Rangiwewehi if she tried but in her role at Te Kahu o Te Amorangi Te Matatini 2017, she doesn’t get to join the rōpū on stage.
Kahurangi is working for Māori TV during Te Matatini, interviewing kai haka as they come off the stage.
And among the first rōpū to perform on Thursday was Ngāti Rangiwewehi Kapa Haka, the group she has performed with and which her parents Trevor and Atareta led for more than 30 years.
Trevor was kaitataki tane when the rōpū won the honours in 1983, the last time the competition was held in Hawke’s Bay, while Atareta – who passed away 10 years ago - was twice judged kaitataki wahine.
Seeing the rōpū head for the stage was hard to take, Kahurangi says.
“My iwi went out before and I was all teary. I’ll just put on a bodice now and I’m ready.”
Despite missing on performing, Kahurangi says it’s a great experience being able to interview kai haka as soon as they come off stage.
“They’re out of breath, they’re tired as, but I get those first reactions from them. Even though they’re huffing and puffing, they tell us how it is out there,” she says.