The Auckland Anglican Māori Club receive the talisman of Te Matatini

By Piripi Taylor

The Auckland Anglican Māori Club is the oldest surviving haka group in Auckland. Last night the spiritual talisman of the National Kapahaka Competition was transferred into their care at The Holy Sepulchre Church as the stone is shared amongst the marae of Auckland ahead of Te Matatini 2021.

The group affectionately known as the Angies are renowned for their sweet choir-singing, which they imbued the sacred talisman of Te Matatini with as the custodianship of the stone was handed over to them.

Long-serving member of the group, Te Ope Hōia Tuawhitu Paenga Maxwell of Ngāti Porou reflects on the timing of the talismans arrival.

"We've celebrated, this month, 50 years of the Holy Sepulchre. So it's been an honour and to have brought the mauri here at this time, it's been... a double bonus if you like."

The talisman evoked the memory of the Late Sir Kingi Matutaera Ihaka who founded the Auckland Māori Mission and the Auckland Anglican Māori Club and was the first Chair of the New Zealand Polynesian Festival, the forerunner to Te Matatini.

The chairman of the Auckland Kapahaka Society, Paora Sharples paid tribute to the former Anglican Archdeacon.

"It is very appropriate that we honour his name in the church here and all that he did. It is in these types of gathering that we remember them of that generation who paved they way for what we have today, so that it isn't forgotten."

Fellow member of the Auckland Anglican Māori Club, John Matthews looks back over the years with much affection.

"We feel very lucky to have the different groups of Auckland here. We also remember former groups who are no longer around. We remember Te Kauri, Maranga Ki Te Atua, Rangimārie, groups like Manawanui and others."

The group is one of the oldest surviving performing groups in the country who has represented Auckland at the National competition. Despite being strong in numbers and presence, these days they prefer to just entertain.

Matthews says they continue to practice every Monday night.

"We support our church here. We also support all our groups from Auckland. Every year, we attend the regional's to support them," he says.

The group has been an icon to many over the years.

"They were instrumental in the fusion of the gospel and haka, so they're a very special group," says Sharples.

Where ever the stone talisman moves to from here, the spirit of Tātai Hono will always be with it.