March 18


Ngāruawāhia, New Zealand

Waikato international

crowd pleasers

Kapa Haka finale

The story or the Tūrangawaewae Marae is every bit as epic as Gone with the Wind. In fact GwtW is kids’ stuff by comparison ! There’s a great book by Michael King (Te Puea A Life, Reed Books Auckland 2003) that tells the inspiring story of  Te Puea Hērangi grand daughter of Matutaera Tāwhiao the second Māori King.  Princess Te Puea was instrumental in realising his dream, “Ko Ngāruawāhia taku tūrangawaewae”. It doesn’t translate well in English but its all about a creating place for the Waikato Tainui people to find strength, security and a sense of belonging. It was quite a struggle believe me … but today Tūrangawaewae is a place of national significance and the Ngāruawāhia Regatta ” … is a time when the older generation will relive and remember the past, where the rangatahi learn about the past in an atmosphere of fun and where all will celebrate the river and its culture.”  The grand waka ceremony is an awesome and emotional experience for both Māori and Pākehā.  Below is a short video of one of the brilliant local Kapa Haka groups performing on the day (there are a few obvious superstars in this group !) and some scenes of the waka ceremony. The regatta is a really great day out with extremely high standards in the entertainment department  (including the fabulous Maisey Rika). You can learn a lot about contemporary Māori culture at the Regatta and as promised, have fun.

p.s best hangi ever !