Tūhourangi Ngāti Wāhiao kapa haka group pays tribute to their leader Sally-Ann Roberts at Te Maeva Nui International Night on Tuesday. MELINA ETCHES/23080201 or 0202
On Tuesday night, the 2023 Te Maeva Nui International Night stage witnessed a deeply moving tribute by Aotearoa New Zealand kapa haka group Tūhourangi Ngāti Wāhiao as they paid homage to their beloved leader, Sally-Ann “Hereana” Roberts, who tragically passed away during last year’s festival.
Their powerful, harmonious voices and vigorous
performance were fitting to open the evening.
Roberts was a “flamboyant kapa haka exponent and tutor
of Tūhourangi kapa haka” for more than three decades.
This is the group’s second visit to the Cook Islands, where they have once again joined the Te Maeva Nui festival held at Te Are Karioi Nui National Auditorium. They have returned to help with their healing, and to give thanks to the people of Rarotonga for the huge support offered to their kapa whanau throughout the ordeal last year.
The group was formed in 1985, principally to foster
the performing arts and celebrate the history of Tūhourangi Ngāti Wāhiao, and
to nurture and develop interest in the performing arts in rangatahi
It has become a regular fixture at all local and
national kapa haka events in Aotearoa and internationally.
The group hails from the geothermal village of
Whakarewarewa, two kilometres south of the central business district of Rotorua,
and named after their tribe Tūhourangi Ngāti Wāhiao, one of the more prominent
tribes that belongs to the Te Arawa Waka.
Tūhourangi Ngāti Wāhiao is honoured to have also
participated in the Matariki Korikori Konohete over the weekend.
Five kapa haka groups performed on the night as well
as the local Kiribati, Filipino and Indonesia communities.