Long-standing group Ngāti Pōneke leads a nation

By Taroi Black

Ngāti Pōneke nannies and koro gearing up for kapa haka showdown at Waitangi Park for Te Matatini.

Life member Donas Nathan says, “We’re looking forward to welcoming all the groups from around Aotearoa.”

Mrs Nathan, who’s spent almost the last six months helping out local organisers for the festival, told Te Kāea they will also display their club’s costumes and photos at the Hakapapa Exhibition at Te Papa Museum which highlights 80 years of haka history.

“I love to sing and dance and for me, if it wasn’t for kapa haka I wouldn’t have gone places.”

For Māori, Ngāti Pōneke were at the forefront of issues affecting Māori during the 21st century. In 1973, over a hundred members took part in the 133rd Waitangi Anniversary on Treaty grounds to mark the first public holiday for all New Zealanders.

The group has also experienced success at the Polynesian Festival in 1972, now known as Te Matatini, where they lost to Waihirere Māori Club by only one-point.

Historian Puti Mackey says, “Ngāti Pōneke Māori Youth Club will exhibit our rich history of kapa haka at Te Papa. Through our many efforts, the Māori language has flourished among locals. We were also responsible for the well-being of many communities and contributing towards housing and employment. I guess now, times have changed."