Jan. 17, 2019, 9:36 a.m.
Placing third at this year’s Te Tai Tokerau regionals and securing a spot at Te Matatini 2019 representing the hapu of Ngāti Hau is Hātea.
When local Whangārei mother Pauline Hopa left Te Waka Huia in 2000 she brought the dream home to create a local group based out of Pehiāweri marae at the request of whānau.
“Hātea kapa haka came out of an idea from our whānau at our own marae Pehiāweri to start our own kapa haka group.
“Our brother and cousin went to our mother and said we want to start our own kapa haka group and base it at our marae and that was how Hātea came about,” Otene Hopa said.
In what will be their 9th time returning to Te Matatini, Hātea are most popular for their choral abilities which derives from the marae’s strong connections to the church.
“It’s one of the disciplines we love to do, if you know our marae, you know the people that come from there and we have grown up in the church singing hīmene.
“We are fortunate to have David Tapene come join us from Tāmaki and they also come from a rich history of hīmene singing” Hopa said.
Like many kapa haka groups Hātea have a solid whānau base and creating waiata is often inspired by honouring influential people within their whānau along with raising awareness to current political issues.
“My kaumātua around me, I have done a lot of memorials to them just honouring our conversations.
“One of my waiata ‘Waiora’ was based on a statement John Key made around a water issue.
“He made a statement that no one owns the water and for me, that just stirred a lot of emotion.”
The Hopa siblings will travel with their team to Wellington in February and a goal to hit the stage more than once over the competition weekend.
“We’re aiming to be in the top three in our pool and be in the finals on Sunday. That would just be a dream come true.”