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NZCT supported Tauranga Moana Hui Aranga at the recent festival held in Te Puna over Easter
NZCT awarded $15,000 to Tauranga Moana to support the first Hui Aranga held over Easter in Te Puna, Tauranga. The grant covered the cost of marquee hire, helped with the bad weather and ensured that the Hui Aranga could continue to fulfil its traditional functions of celebrating Easter among Māori communities. Sporting contests and cultural performances, including kapa haka, oratory, choral and solo singing, had a safe, covered space in which to perform.
Venue Co-ordinator and Organising Committee Member Sarah Tangitu says -
The hearts and voices of whanau coming to the first Hui Aranga since Covid limitations were lifted and the first ever to be held in Te Puna were lifted when they saw the magnificent marquee in which they performed. This is where all the main activities of the Hui Aranga took place - the kapa haka, the oratory and waiata, and the Easter blessings and services. “Kaumatua Kiritoha and Bibbins Tangitu would have been so humbly proud to see this actually taking place here in Te Puna,” says Tapararo Borell, leader of the local organising committee.
I have been a member of the Te Puna Tauranga Moana Club since it was formed forty years ago, I was ten years old at the time. Growing up in this kaupapa has definitely contributed to how I live my life today. The religious aspects have helped with my taha wairua (spiritual side) and my commitment to my hahi (religion), while the cultural aspects keep us connected to our whakapapa (lineage), pono (true) to ourselves and provides an opportunity to acknowledge our mate (deceased) and our tupuna, as well as celebrate our culture.
My parents and many other nannies, koro, aunties and uncles were the driving force behind our club many of whom passed within the last three years so never got to attend another Hui Aranga once we went into lockdown. We are fortunate to still have a few of our stalwarts amongst us guiding us through. My children have all been involved in the Hui Aranga and now their children are attending alongside their parents. With the grant NZCT we were able to provide the 1000+ people who attended the venue - with the marquee - suitable for this kaupapa. Our manuhiri felt their awhi stretching over them, just like the roof of this huge tent.
Event Sports Co-ordinator Tommy Wilson adds -
This is one of very few events that drew in many different Iwi from as far south as Wellington to the east of Hawkes bay, the west of Whanganui, and all the way to the top of the North Island. The Hui Aranga is the starting point for many attendees who then go on to perform at a national level at Te Matatini. Te Matatini is regarded as the Olympics of kapa haka.
The Hui Aranga takes place every year, but in different places all over the motu, so each year a different community has to learn how to host and organise for over a thousand manuhiri from fifteen clubs who took part in a wide range of activities over the whole Easter weekend. Five marae from Te Puna and Tauranga Moana were involved, as are numbers of local businesses and volunteers.
This funding from NZCT makes their work a whole lot easier. It enabled us to bring over a thousand kids and parents together to celebrate something joyful given that we’ve all come through three years of covid lockdowns and restrictions and most recently extreme weather events that have affected many of those who attended this year’s Hui Aranga.
The marquee housed a stage and lighting/sound which complemented team performances. It was essential to ensure that all aspects of the Hui Aranga continued if the weather did not co-operate and it provided the hub for most events held throughout the weekend.
Chairman of the Hui Aranga Management Committee Tapararo Borell concludes -
Our organisation was formed for the sole purpose of running the first Hui Aranga in Te Puna. It is part of a long tradition of similar organisations that have maintained Hui Aranga for seventy years. Each Hui Aranga serves the Māori community through its faith in their ability to joyfully celebrate their culture, their belief, and their sportsmanship. Few other festivals combine this unique mix of whanau and club-based competition whose rules require wholehearted participation. This spirit extends, as the Hui Aranga moves from rohe to rohe, to the whole community. All were welcome and the benefits to the local community benefits go far beyond a few short days over Easter.