Tai Tokerau kapa discuss empowering Te Reo to honour Sir Hekenukumai Busby

By Raniera Harrison

Northland kapa haka are discussing the possibility of incorporating Te Reo Māori as an aggregate section at their regional level senior kapa haka competition.

Kapa in support of Te Reo inclusion believe it would be yet another great opportunity to further acknowledge Sir Hekenukumai Busby.

Sir Busby recently received a Knighthood and is considered one of the greatest Māori celestial navigators of our time.

Otene Hopa of Hātea kapa haka is in strong support of Te Reo inclusion, "We need to entrench the language in to the marking criteria for all that we do here."

More than 200 people descended on Kaitāia at the weekend to take part in the spectacle of song and dance - Te Toki Nui a Kupe celebrating Sir Hekenukumai Busby.

Head tutor of Muriwhenua, Chris Henare believes including Te Reo will provide another important opportunity to acknowledge such a great man. 

"That's the big question. How do we honour him in the best way possible? This is a start by bringing together all of the initiatives for us all - nothing can beat this."

Te Tai Tokerau representative on the Te Matatini board says the winner of the best original poi composition at national level wins the Ngāhiraka Busby Memorial Trophy.

Te Tai Tokerau delegate to Te Matatini, Pauline Hopa says "He gave that taonga to Te Matatini, it is a paddle. Its name is Ngāhiraka - in remembrance of his late wife - our aunty Hilda."

A formal application hasn't been put forward to the Waitangi Cultural Society yet, but the three representative teams have said this is something they are working towards.

"This whole purpose was to maintain and to honour the kōrero that he holds and is able to share with the next generation" adds Boo Nathan, of Te Puu Ao.

The dates for the 2020 Te Tai Tokerau Senior Kapa Haka Regionals are yet to be announced.

Sir Busby says teams should keep doing what they're doing.

"These are the events that make us who we are. Keep doing this, and we will excel in whatever we do."