The kapa haka community is in mourning after hearing of the passing of Talei Roimata Morrison who lost her battle to cancer. Five-time national winners Te Waka Huia commemorated her in their performance at the Tāmaki Makaurau Kapa Haka Regionals today.
Te Waka Huia male leader Hare Rua spoke publicly on stage during their performance, “E te tuahine hāere rā”.
Ms Morrison comes from a family of entertainment royalty which includes New Zealand figures such as the late Sir Howard Morrison and Temuera Morrison.
She was also a stalwart in the famous kapa haka club, Te Matarae i o Rehu from Rotorua. Eventually, their team would take out two national titles in Te Matatini under the guidance of her tutor, Wetini Mitai-Ngatai.
In 2011, she featured in the opening ceremony at the Rugby World Cup.
However, at 42 she was diagnosed with stage four cervical cancer last year and initiated a Smear Your Mea campaign, to encourage women to go for the commonly dreaded smear test.
The late Talei Morrison told Te Kāea in an interview in January 2018, "The Smear Your Mea campaign is about preventing cervical cancer and it's also about us becoming role models in our communities and within our iwi. And, the mechanism that we're using to push through is the slogan 'Kapa Haka'.
Tomorrow her body will depart from Hamilton and arrive at Tamatekapua at 2pm in Rotorua.