Who's that Kapa? Te Kapa Haka o Te Ahi a Tahurangi

Tama Ale Samoa • 3 December 2021

In this week's Window into Te Ao Māori, Tama Ale Samoa introduces his Kapa Haka group, Wellington Region champions, Te Ahi a Tahurangi.

Today we go local and introduce the Kapa Haka champions of the Wellington Region, Te Kapa Haka o Te Ahi a Tahurangi. This Kapa Haka was formed in 2009 as an iwi-based group for the Southern Taranaki tribe of Ngā Ruahine Rangi. This Kapa Haka was founded by Tia Tūrāhui and Darlene Weston of Ngā Ruahine, and Te Teira Davis of Ngāi Tūhoe.

The purpose of this Kapa Haka was to retain and revive the language and culture of Ngā Ruahine, by competing at the Taranaki Tū Mai Festival, which is a celebration that was established to draw the descendants of the 12 tribes of Taranaki back home to Taranaki. The festival competitions consist of sports, debates, darts, pool, golf, and Kapa Haka. Te Ahi a Tahurangi solely entered for the Kapa Haka section, taking out first place in both 2009 and 2017 festivals.

In 2020, as the head tutor of Te Ahi a Tahurangi I decided it was time to enter into professional competitive Kapa Haka. So in March 2020, we took the official competitive stage for the first time at the Wellington Senior Kapa Haka regionals, taking out first place, and qualifying for nationals, or more commonly known as Te Matatini.

It is also right to make mention and acknowledge all the previous Kapa Haka that made big contributions to this kapa, in the form of time, knowledge, and experience. Te Kapa Haka o Tū te Maungaroa, Tūhoe ki Pōneke, Te Kapa Haka o Ngā uri Taniwha, Te Whānau Tahi, Ngā Taonga Mai Tawhiti.

You can watch Te Ahi a Tahurangi perform at the 2020 regionals here, or find out more about our creation below.

Top image via Māori Television