Te Reo Māori tauira in Hamilton will be among those to reap the benefits of Whāngārā Mai Tawhiti taking out the top title at Te Kahu o Te Amorangi Te Matatini 2017 yesterday.
The Gisborne-baed rōpū claimed the Duncan McIntyre Trophy after a stunning finals performance which saw them beat the second placed Te Waka Huia and Te Iti Kahurangi in third.
Among the members of Whāngārā Mai Tawhiti is Mangakōtukutuku te Reo Māori kaiawhina Keihana Kingi-Takoko, who says his experience of winning on the biggest kapa stage on the world would ultimately help his tauira.
“I think that us having experience outside of the whare wānanga and bringing that back in is one of the main things.”
It shows kaimahi are able to walk the walk, he says, and that gives tauira confidence.
“It’s about giving them a place where they can connect to some sort of kaupapa, be it kapa haka, or mahi marae or anything that has to do with te Ao Māori that they can be immersed in.”
Keihana says it was a “way awesome” experience to win the overall title at just his third Te Matatini competition.
“It was cool, I’ll probably keep doing Te Matatini till I die.”
But before that happens, there’s work to do.“I’ll be back next week,” he says.