Rangitāne Tangata Rau Kapa Haka Festival - Te Ope Kātua

By Te Ao Māori News
Te Ope Kātua

This is the New Zealand Defence Force’s second entry into regional competition as a Tri-Service group, meaning the group is comprised of personnel, both current and retired, from all three services.

The group was formed in 1997 after an invitation from the UK Military was sent to the then Chief of Army, MAJGEN Burke, inviting a cultural group from the New Zealand Defence Force, to attend the Royal Tournament.

A 70-strong group performed at the Royal Tournament. MAJGEN (RTD) Burke then became the Chief of Defence Force and pushed to form a Tri-Service Group.

Their rōpū has been participating in this competition since 2012.

The group's tutors are Cora Lambert and Mike Te Hau.

Their haka was composed by W/O (RTD) Doug Wallace, of the Royal New Zealand Air Force, the haka is a "call to arms".

In times of aggression, they are fighters as instruments of Tūmatauenga, and in other times, they go with peaceful intentions as instruments of Rongomatāne.

Their haka reminds us that, "When a warrior falls, another is ready to take his place", and finally speaks of the three edges of the blade on a patu.  

It uses this analogy to represent that although they are three 'Services', they are one 'Force'!