Waipapa Taumata Rau students secure spot in Te Matatini finals

Anipātene Biddle, Hikawai Te Nahu, Piripi Gordon, Te Ruki Pierce-Dunn, Atamira Walker, Puna Whaakata Maniapoto-Love, Te Ao Leach, and Nikora Wade have all made it into the finals of Te Matatini and will compete for the grand title alongside their respective roopu on 25 February.

Ngā Tauira Māori: Te Ruki Pierce-Dunn, Piripi Gordon, Anipātene Biddle, Hikawai Te Nahu, Atamira Walker, Nikora Wade
Ngā Tauira Māori: Te Ruki Pierce-Dunn, Piripi Gordon, Anipātene Biddle, Hikawai Te Nahu, Atamira Walker, Nikora Wade

Tauira (students) of University of Auckland have taken excellence to the next level as they champion towards the grand title at Te Matatini. For some, it’s their first performance, and for others, it’s their first finals.

The roopu finalists hail from Te Arawa waka, Tāmaki Makaurau, Waikato-Tainui, and the East Coast.

Hikawai Te Nahu

Anipātene and Hikawai displayed a stunning performance on Thursday with their whānau roopu, Te Kapa Haka o Ngāti Whakaue. It was the second time their roopu had competed on Te Matatini stage in 30 years – and they came for the win.

Piripi and Te Ruki are part of Angitū, a Tāmaki-based group with a large fan-base. Angitū provides a unique perspective of kapa haka and an insight into the unique world of an urban Māori community. The group themselves model Māori excellence and success, upholding the meaning of ‘angitū’.

Atamira is a kaihaka of Te Kapa Haka o Te Whānau a Apanui, a roopu that represents all hapū of Te Whānau a Apanui and hails from the Mātaatua rohe. They were the last to perform at Te Matatini on Friday, with a stellar performance that secured a spot in the final.

Puna Whakaata Maniapoto Love

Puna Whakaata and Te Ao performed alongside Whāngarā mai Tāwhiti, a long-standing kapa haka roopu founded in 1961. Hailing from Tairāwhiti, the roopu brought with them the mana that persevered through Cyclone Gabrielle and unleashed it on the stage.

Nikora and his Te Hekenga ā Rangi whānau performed for the very first time at Te Matatini as a roopu. The group was established in 2019, following the last Te Matatini. While this year may be the first time, it’s safe to say that this definitely won’t be their last.

Nikora Wade

Waipapa Taumata Rau, the University of Auckland, is a sponsor of Te Matatini Herenga Waka Herenga Tangata National Kapa Haka Festival 2023, in support with the University's Iwi-manaaki and hosting rohe, Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei.
Te Matatini brings together the country’s most elite Kapa Haka groups in celebration of Māori culture. The festival is held biennially in different cities and is welcomed back to Tāmaki Makaurau after 21 years. The University of Auckland’s sponsorship aligns with Taumata Teitei, the University’s strategy to enhance kaupapa Māori.

Media contact

Te Rina Triponel | Kaitohutohu Pāpāho Māori
E: te.rina.triponel@auckland.ac.nz